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New newspaper targets black community

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Arkansas has a new newspaper, a monthly targeting the black community, named Stand! News.

Co-owners are Sen. Tracy Steele of North Little Rock, who recently announced his coming resignation as executive director of the state Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, and Debrah Mitchell, who had been a commission member.

The paper is free, and is on newsstands now.

Steele will be publisher of the paper. Mitchell will be editorial director and depend on free-lance writers for articles.

Mitchell said the monthly paper (they plan on going weekly if all goes well) will focus on providing positive stories about the black community, including features on local businesses and restaurants. Mitchell said that she and Steele talked about the prospect of starting a newspaper for a long time. “We’ve talked about it off and on for years,” she said. “Just in general, it’s a newspaper for what’s going on in the community. We saw there was a niche which needed to be filled.”

The first issue has 28 tabloid-sized pages, 14 of them in full color, with a wide variety of advertisers, including a number of political candidates. Editorial content includes a profile of Collette Honorable (chief of staff to Attorney General Mike Beebe), details of the speech delivered Sept. 15 by Princeton University’s Dr. Cornel West at Philander Smith College, a review of a chicken wing restaurant on University Avenue, profiles of the candidates running for mayor of Little Rock, and a first-person account by Tracy Steele, detailing his August heart attack.

Plans are to distribute the newspaper as widely as possible in the state, though the focus will be on Little Rock and Central Arkansas. Initial distribution will be 10,000 copies, “though we know that’s going to have to go up,” Mitchell said.

In downtown Little Rock, Stand! News can be found at the Central Arkansas Public Library, Larry’s Pizza, Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Community Bakery, and other businesses.

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