June 29, 2021
Written By: Main Street Square
Aaron Dickens grew up in Los Gatos, California and wanted to pursue an education at University of Southern California. However, a low grade in AP Probability and Statistics class changed Aaron’s fortune. “I was a straight A student and after getting a D+, USC rejected me. I had already been accepted to NYU so I reached out to them and moved to New York City at 18 years old without knowing a single person,” Dickens said. And so Aaron adjusted his plans and moved cross country to pursue his dream in journalism.
Dickens gained prominence in the New York region covering Hurricane Sandy as it barreled through the New Jersey region. During the aftermath of the hurricane, Aaron worked with communities and residents rebuilding the area. He helped secure FEMA funding while using his reporting to uncover inconsistencies in the processes during one of the worst storms in the region’s history.
“Journalism for me is about helping people. It's all about ensuring a better quality of life for people in the community,” stated Dickens.
Fast forward eight years and New York was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest. All of the things that made New York fun and exciting were gone. “A lot of people were moving out of New York. Fifth Avenue was boarded up and the city shut down. I had friends that moved to Wyoming, so I started researching jobs in the region.”
Grey Media had an opening for an evening anchor and Aaron followed up. After two phone interviews, Aaron packed up his car and headed to South Dakota.
“I remember driving through the middle of the state and thinking to myself, I hope Rapid City is more than plains.”
When Dickens arrived in Rapid City, he settled into a downtown apartment. “I have a men’s clothing store on the block, a coffee shop on the corner and I can get anywhere I need to go quickly.”
A change in cities has brought a change in culture for Dickens. "People pay for a random person's coffee in the drive-through. Another major difference is the gyms here are so much nicer. They are better quality and more accessible in Rapid City,” stated Dickens.
But there have been noticeable draw backs for the big city boy now living in Rapid City. “Things shut down early here. I get off work around 11:00 p.m. and the only place to get a cup of coffee is Taco Bell."
Through all the lifestyle changes, Aaron has been able to adapt and get comfortable in his new home. “I have lived in bigger cities and I know how hectic they can be. I’m in no hurry to leave.”