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Talk Business invests in ink 

Plus: Anne Jansen ain’t dead yet.

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Central Arkansas has what can only be called a vibrant spread of free publications, including the Arkansas Times, our Spanish-language sister paper El Latino, the black-community-oriented Stand! News, the Dem-Gaz's free weakly Sync, and a whole box full of others.

With the new year comes yet another free pub, this one targeted at the world of work and finance. Talk Business Quarterly, or TBQ, is the latest venture by Roby Brock, who has built up the Talk Business brand to include a successful website — talkbusiness.net — and a weekly television show on AETN.

Brock said he's been thinking about creating a free, business-themed magazine for two or three years. “Finally some things came together and it just made sense that this would be the right time to push the button,” Brock said. Published in a “slick” magazine format, the initial print run of TBQ is 25,000 copies.

Though the general wisdom seems to be that it's a risky time to enter the world of ink-and-paper publishing, Brock is optimistic. “Everybody thinks that print publications are dying on the vine and things like that,” he said. “But I just see it as a way to get a different kind of news story out there related to business or politics. There's some things you can do with a feature story that you can't do very easily on a television program or even through a website.”

The magazine will appear quarterly, he said, because most financial information comes out on a quarterly basis, and it “plays into the brand of what we report on.” Too, Brock said, a quarterly schedule cuts down on the amount of capital outlay associated with a magazine startup, as well as some of the “difficult deadlines” of a monthly.

Brock said the inaugural issue — which features veteran newsman John Brummett on the rise of machine gambling at Oaklawn and Southland, a profile of Arkansas Public Service Commission interim chair Collette Honorable and a round-up of the state's big business stories of 2007 — is an illustration of the kind of in-depth writing readers should come to expect from TBQ, Brock said.

“It fits into the kind of reporting that we've done in the past, which is a little bit more analysis-oriented, a little bit more education-directed,” he said. “I think we've touched a whole bunch of new people that are not familiar with our Talk Business brand.”

Brock said he's particularly proud of how the first installment of TBQ is focused on more than Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas.

“In the first issue, there's about 36 different communities that are somehow touched by the people that we've interviewed or the businesses that we've profiled or the topics we've addressed. We're going to different corners of the state and we're presenting things to readers that they might not know is going on outside their world.”

The next issue of TBQ will be on the stands in April.

Happy trails to KTHV anchor Anne Jansen, who signed off on Jan. 31 after putting in a solid 25 years at the station. Reached on her first weekday afternoon as a retiree/stay-at-home mom, Jansen said the flurry of goodbyes and kind words on her last day at work was a bit overwhelming. The effect, she said (laughing the whole time, I might add), was like being at her own funeral. Often called on to write obituaries for Arkansas's standouts during her time at KTHV, Jansen suggested that the station should hang on to the overview of her broadcast career that aired the night of her send off. A few strokes of the pen, and it'll be ready for when she goes to the Big Desk in the Sky. “All you've got to do is go back in and change the tense.”

For now, Jansen said she's cleaning out her office a bit at a time, piling boxes in a corner at her house for later sorting. Beyond that, she's just trying to find her place in the new reality — which doesn't include time under the hot lights.

“Instead of being in my meeting and getting ready for my first cut-in, I just went through the carpool line for the first time to pick up my kids and now I'm sitting in a driveway for one of their piano lessons,” Jansen said. “It's kind of like you're forgetting to do something. It's like this anxiety that you really don't know what to do with.”

Hello? Is this thing on?

david@arktimes.com

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