Northern Minnesota mining on Al Jazeera America

ajamerica_rangeYour intrepid regional writer will be doing something quite new this evening. Tonight, at 6:30 CST, I’ll be a guest on “The Stream” on the new national cable network Al Jazeera America. You might know Qatar-based AlJazeera as a Middle Eastern news network but they’ve been expanding into an international news service for years, including the launch of this new American network just a couple months ago. The topic: Northern Minnesota mining.

They’re interested in the nonferrous mining debate going on here, the intersection between jobs and the environment, the real need for minerals juxtaposed with the moral imperative toward conservation. I think it will be one of the more useful discussions on the matter aired on television, and national television to boot. Other guests will be Gerald Tyler of UpNorth Jobs in Ely and Betsy Daub from Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. As usual, I’m the guy in the middle.

You’ll have to check your cable and satellite listings to find AlJazeera America, as it’s still very new and finding its place on the digital spectrum. Perhaps check out the program’s “Stream” page, where you can participate in live discussion before, during and after the show.

The wild part of the story is that, had my schedule allowed, they were going to fly me into Washington D.C. to do the show in studio. That would have been cool, but absolutely insane in my real day-to-day world. So an internet video interview is what we’ve got. Unfortunately my home satellite internet — despite its ENORMOUS COST FOR THE BEST PACKAGE — failed the broadcast test, so I’ll be making alternative arrangements. But, you know, by all means keep dithering about how impossible it is to run internet along the phone or electrical grid, Leaders. I’m not frustrated at all. I’m not thinking of recruiting energetic candidates who know how the internet works to challenge every incumbent on the Range all the way down to soil and water commissioner OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

But I digress. Mining. Tonight. On the TV.





  1. Correction Aaron. Gerald Tyler is the president of Up North Jobs, Inc. which is based in Ely. Gerald also lives in Ely.

  2. Exciting Aaron, but it begs the question – why in the world Ehab Al Shihabi?? There are a few Muslims in the cities and St. Cloud but not so much on the Range. Why not CTN?

    Since its August 20 launch, Al Jazeera America has been an unmitigated failure, unable to attract even a small percentage of the three million Muslims living in America. According to the New York Times, total viewership sits at a statistical zero. Therefore, it is doubtful that a new deal with Time Warner to add another 10 million households will make any kind of difference. Not only have AJA’s ratings been invisible, so has its ability to break through with a single news-making story or moment. Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s interim chief executive, estimated that once the deal was fully in effect, the channel would be available in about 20% more American homes.

    • First off, Mary thanks. I was told Babbitt by the producer. I’ll correct.
      Bob, I was invited to be a guest. I’m glad to tell the Iron Range story wherever it’s appreciated. I do not think Al Jazeera America is intended only for Muslim households. It is merely part of a company based in the Middle East. And their ratings will spike once I get there. I’m the rainmaker. 🙂

  3. All the best Aaron…tell ’em what made the Range a great place!

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