Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Travis Kevie in front of the Valencia Club
(from the Auburn Journal)
On July 16, Travis Kevie broke into the famous Valencia Club in Placer County, but not to squat or cause mischief; he did some housecleaning. Then, he went down to the gas station, bought a six pack and opened for business. With the profit he made, he bought more alcohol and sold it. The local Auburn Journal got wind of the club's comeback and did a front-page profile on Kevie. The morning the paper went to print, a local detective recognized Kevie's picture from previous encounters with the law, went down to the Valencia Club and arrested him.

Kevie ran the club for four days before being shut down. All of the elements of this story put together inspire a single thought: What a baller.

Because let's look at the facts: This guy broke into a bar in order to clean it and then sat down for an interview with a newspaper. Clearly, he wasn't trying to do anything illegal and he wasn't trying to swindle customers out of their money. He just wanted to make people happy, and now he's facing charges for it. All possibilities of a mental disorder aside, this guy's pretty awesome.

"I have fun with life," Kevie told Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal during that famed profile interview. "I live it up and take it for what it's worth."

Wise words, Mr. Transient Rodeo Cowboy, and as much as you are my fucking hero, the real story I'm interested in is Mr. Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal. With the Shirley Sherrod debacle making headlines as of late, it's not wrong to ask, "What happened to well-researched reporting?"

Gizmodo had an article recently that brought this question to the forefront. Have we, as a society, lost our patience for stories? How often do you hear from people, "I don't have time to read"? I know I'm guilty of that terrible sentence myself, yet it's not entirely true. We have time to sit in front of our computers and time to watch bad TV, yet when it comes to reading books or watching full speeches or doing a quick check on a person's history (and in this Age of the Internet, this search is quite simple for a journalist), we suddenly lose the time.

In a world full of 140-character news items and three and a half minute Youtube clips, is there a need for long form journalism anymore? Attention spans are shorter, news moves quicker...have journalists become obsolete?

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