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Being ‘Frank’

Clinton School gets a new horn.

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PLAIN-SPEAKING
  • PLAIN-SPEAKING

Though the Clinton School for Public Service has been a regular font of news (and news releases) since opening a few years back, the University of Arkansas-sponsored graduate program offering a Master of Public Service degree hasn't had an official mouthpiece until now.

On Nov. 27, the Clinton School announced the launch of Frank, a glossy new quarterly that promises to be a “thematic publication that reviews concepts and ideas in public service.”

Frank's 10,000 print run maiden voyage — bearing the theme “Has the Dream Arrived?” and a special section on race relations in America — features a long and charmingly varied list of contributions from notable writers and political figures including Karl Rove, Rev. Jesse Jackson, “American Idol” creator Simon Cowell, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Bill Clinton, Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (who in 2006, at the age of 26, became the youngest mayor of any major city in the country).

Clinton School spokesman Ben Beaumont is associate editor of the magazine (which he terms a “review”). He said that Frank editor Patrick Kennedy — who also runs the school's wildly popular speakers series — came up with the idea for the publication last spring, and has been instrumental in setting the look, tone and content.

And what about that name? Though Beaumont said some have suggested it might refer to Franklin D. Roosevelt or some other political figure, he said it really just means that Frank aims to be — you know, frank.

“We kind of like to leave it up to interpretation,” he said, “but the point of it is it's an honest discussion about ideas in public service. It doesn't have any floss. We want to be straightforward.”

Beaumont said that other schools connected to presidential libraries do an annual publication. While he said the magazine will surely be a great marketing tool for the Clinton School, helping attract students, speakers and faculty, Beaumont said that what sets the magazine apart from publications published by other presidential libraries and their associated programs is that it's not solely a promotional publication.

“It our contribution to the dialogue,” he said. “It gets some of our ideas out there; it gets some of our students out there as well as our faculty.”

Beaumont said that the stream of noteworthy speakers at the Clinton School should help the magazine keep its pages filled with fresh and relevant content.

“One of the things that has been great, not only with this publication but with the speaker series and the school in general, is that we just haven't seen interest die down. We've had over-interest. I think people kind of see what we're doing here, and they see the idea of Frank, which is very unique, and they want to be a part of it.”

The next issue of Frank will be published in spring 2008. Copies of the current issue are available at the Clinton Library Museum store on President Clinton Avenue, and at WordsWorth Books on R Street in the Heights.

Frank and beans!

david@arktimes.com

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