A summer update from the writer

Aaron J. Brown
Aaron Brown at the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists Page One awards, June 23, 2022. (PHOTO: Max Nesterak)

I’m not sure how many of you remember the days when I would report 3-7 times a week with news from northern Minnesota politics, business and culture. It’s been a few years since I’ve tried to maintain that schedule. What you see here at MinnesotaBrown these days are my Mesabi Tribune newspaper columns and commentaries for the Minnesota Reformer.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I had finished the first draft of my book, Power in the Wilderness, for the University of Minnesota Press. You’re going to like it. And yet, editing remains a cumbersome task. I’ll still be working on this for several months, so I’m afraid I am no closer to writing more posts. In fact, I am struggling to finish one of my favorite annual traditions, the Iron Range Fourth of July parades, street dances and fireworks post. Fingers crossed I find some time tomorrow or Wednesday.

But I do want to share some good news with you, especially those who support this blog by reading and subscribing to my e-mail list. It’s not even a humble brag, just regular bragging. Last week, my work for the Minnesota Reformer won First Place for the Editorials and Commentaries (50,000 and above circulation) category at the Minnesota Society for Professional Journalists annual Page One Awards.

The judges keyed in on my commentary about law enforcement reform from last winter, “Law and Order Starts with Peace.” I am very proud that one of the pieces that combined my historical memoir style with newsy business did so well. This one mentioned my Grandpa Johnson, who died in in 2019. Grandpa had a tough life in many ways, hurt on the job at the mines with many struggles that followed. He told me once that what he really wanted as a kid was to be on the sidelines at games writing stories for the paper. He was always very proud that I got to do that and more in my career. 

I take further indulgent pride in the fact that the Reformer’s all-online status puts me in with the big state newspapers. As a rural Minnesota writer, I always figured any awards would come in the small paper category. My little boat is bobbing in the big ocean now.

Anyway, awards are subjective. I might be the best commentary writer in the state or #27. It’s the whim of judges more than any objective truth. But being in the mix is all I ask. It feels like I’m in a groove with my writing that I hope lasts a good long time, awards or not. I must thank you for bothering to read this stuff.

I only write about one topic: change. And there is always more for me to write about.



  1. Dawnette Davis says

    Congratulations! Well deserved accolades I’d say.

  2. Karen Kempa says

    So proud of you Aaron!! This. Brought to mind all those successful years in Cherry Speech!! Always knew you would go far and be very successful!! A great big hug and CONGRATULATIONS, from Karen & Mic

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