My Best Stories of the 2010s Decade List

Might as well join the crowd and make up my own list of articles, essays, or books to usher out the 2010s.

The end of 2019 brings us to not only the conclusion of another year, but another decade. So of course, we have become bombarded with too many “best of the 2010s” lists to read.

There are lists on the supposed top art-related controversies, nonfiction books, films, video games, athletes, business trends, and more. And the worst Trump tweets presumably because no one could find enough good tweets to make a best-of list for that.

These lists have become so prevalent that some have compiled lists of the best lists. Of course, these are all subjective, so take them as you will.

With that in mind, I have devised my own list. Since one of my main areas of expertise is writing, it covers articles, essays, and books I have written this decade. These are in no particular rank of importance. Judges were highly partial.

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  • The Aspirin Strain, Medium, April 2018
    Detailed my search for the cause behind my older sister’s death in 1965 beyond the official “probable encephalitis.” I found that she likely passed away due to Reye’s syndrome and described how the aspirin lobby fought to delay and cover up research and ties that could have saved many kids’ lives.
  • Media’s digital divide, The Baltimore Sun, Jan. 2016
    Column on the grim outlook of the newspaper industry and how its saving grace could come down to something as fickle as readers wanting to hold “something real.” Column was reprinted by other papers, including Newsday, The Korea Times, Burlington [N.C.] Times-News, Taunton [Mass.] Daily Gazette, and Milford Daily News.
  • When newspapers were kind of fun places to work, Medium, June 2018
    As print newspapers transform and some die slow, agonizing deaths, I recall my exhilarating five-plus years in the middle of Texas’ last great newspaper war. It ended with a layoff and some tough questions about the future of this difficult industry.
  • In search of Utopia, Medium, May 2018
    Traces the efforts to found Utopian communities and better places to live, as well as combat escalating housing prices and societal turmoil. Designated a front-page feature story by Medium editors.
  • The crisis of complicated water bills, Medium, September 2018
    A growing crisis is one that seems simple: reading your utility and other bills. The reason for keeping the bills complicated is generally to mask hidden fees. Designated a front-page feature story by Medium editors.
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  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Trip: On the Road of the Longest Two-Week Family Road Trip in History, Lulu Press, 2014
    Humorous book chronicling the adventures of a 6,950-mile odyssey across the U.S. and back during a two-week vacation. My kids and I set a record for the longest family road trip in a roughly two-week span, certified by Guinness World Records. And we did it in our trusty 2001 Honda CRV with more than 165,000 miles. We rode roller coasters and water slides, tried to locate some Hollywood celebrities, met some “aliens” at a UFO center in Sedona, sat on a ledge on top of the country’s tallest building in Chicago, spray painted Cadillac Ranch, dodged mule poop at the Grand Canyon, and bought a pressed coin at Old Faithful.
  • The campaign to address climate change goes local, Medium, June 2018
    As many scientists see their efforts to confront climate change stymied by politics, others take heed and pick up the slack.
  • Bribing for camera cash, Medium, July 2019
    While officials claim traffic cameras are about public safety, the bottom line is that entities rake in millions of dollars from them. And bribery schemes in this growing, lucrative market are not as uncommon as many think.
  • Acting on a thirst to help Africa, The Washington Post, March 2015
    Local engineers help bring cleaner water to Cameroon.
  • Did racism help kill SMU basketball star Ruben Triplett? Medium, February 2018
    Almost four decades later, questions remain about a triple killing in Dallas that authorities classify as “solved.” What I found while trying to unearth some answers was both tragic and redemptive.
  • Who owns and controls America? Medium, July 2018
    Many claim ownership of portions. More strive for their piece of the pie. But relatively few question how the first person came to own that land. Few examine the consequences of unchecked greed and who ultimately controls the direction of the country.
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  • The redemption of a beautiful October run, Medium, October 2019
    How decades of pain for many fans were cleansed in the Washington Nationals’ World Series championship run.
  • Taking on the big issues, Medium, January 2019
    How do you make a difference in a matter like climate change, civil rights, and war? Belief, passion, and perseverance.
  • Big Apple takes bites out of visitors, Montgomery County Gazettes, June 2015
    How the New York City towing machine augments the experience of visiting the United States’ most populous city.
  • Dirty Tricks R US, Medium, October 2018
    U.S. political elections have long been cut-throat, high-stakes, rules-breaking, hate-inducing games on all sides. But lately, the GOP is “winning” this race to the bottom.

Written by

Written for 45+ newspapers/mags. Written some books — see https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-J.-Shay/e/B004BCQRTG. Visited 48 states, 30+ countries.

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