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PowerPlay spins off

Plus: Brumblog lives!

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Little Rock’s PowerPlay magazine, the 4-year-old slick focused on the state’s black movers and shakers, has reached a deal to spin off a sister publication for the Washington, D.C. market.

Darren Peters, founder of PowerPlay LLC, said that the new venture, to be called “PowerPlay: Prince George’s County,” will launch this spring. The new magazine will spotlight affluent and influential blacks in the Washington area in much the same way as the Arkansas incarnation of the magazine does in Little Rock.

Peters said that he was originally approached about expanding the PowerPlay brand into the D.C. market by Maryland resident Glenn Rushing. After what he called “numerous discussions over the past several months,” Peters and Rushing reached an agreement in which Rushing will serve as owner and publisher of the new franchise magazine. Sericia Rouse, editorial director of the Little Rock publication, will oversee editorial direction, and Peters and Little Rock PowerPlay headquarters will retain control over content of the D.C. magazine in order to “ensure the high standard of quality that has come to be associated with the PowerPlay brand,” Peters said. In terms of content, Peters said that each magazine will be tailored to fit the community it serves. At the same time, he adds, “There are larger issues and interests concerning African-Americans as a whole that will be shared by both publications.”

If the D.C. incarnation is a success, Peters said that PowerPlay is considering franchise magazines in other areas. “For some time, we have been looking to expand into markets that fit well with our mission,” Peters said.

Our favorite glass-half-empty type, columnist John Brummett (whose column appears in the Arkansas Times), has joined the information age, trading in his green visor and Smith Corona for a shiny new blog — part time, at least.

Since Jan. 9, Brummett has been posting some insightful stuff at brummett.nwablogs.com. After a somewhat tentative first day, Brummett seems to have become smitten with the insta-news format, offering long and involved posts many times a day.

Soon after his new blog’s debut and in a column that appeared last Sunday, Brummett explained to his peeps why he was going electric, and how Brumblog would differ from his ink-and-newsprint column.

“This blog is for chatting; the newspaper column is for the more substantive, or at least more ambitious, essay,” Brummett wrote on the blog.

The new blog will not allow for reader comments on items, Brummett said, citing the amount of time it would take to monitor and post the comments, and the very real possibility of “slanders and personal attacks by creeps clinging to cowardly anonymity.”

“That’s not to say I don’t want to hear and share feedback from readers,” he wrote. “Quite the contrary, of course. That’s the very lifeblood.” Brummett gave his e-mail address — jbrummett@arkansasnews.com — inviting blog readers to “send me a worthy observation or substantive criticism, or vicious personal attack on me, and I’m liable to blog it myself.”

For the news junkie, the best thing about Brummett’s blog might be just how inside-baseball it can get, providing insight into the life of a well-connected reporter on the state’s political beat. So far — for a journalism groupie like me, anyway — some of the most interesting things Brummett has posted have related to his reporterly stalking of new Gov. Mike Beebe: Beebe at 7:30 a.m. the morning after his inauguration, nursing a cup of coffee in the basement cafeteria at the state Capitol, surrounded by lobbyists and legislators. Beebe phoning to say that though he said he wants to cut the food tax now, he wants “to make doubly sure we understand that, for goodness sakes, he doesn’t mean right away, meaning in the current ongoing fiscal year.” Beebe’s people scrambling in the moments before the inaugural address to let the soon-to-be governor know that his wireless lapel mike might possibly be live, letting the people assembled outside the Capitol in on his pre-speech conversations.

Though Brummett would probably snort at the idea that he could ever be anything so damp-eyed as “poignant,” there is a good bit of that in his descriptions of political life behind the scenes. His blog is a great new addition to the local online community, especially for those who can’t get enough politics. Check it out.

Can I be a reporter when I grow up?

david@arktimes.com

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