State Dept. hypes U.S. with new glossy mag for the Mideast

Monday, August 18, 2003

The State Department hopes its new Arabic-language magazine will bolster the image of the United States in the Middle East.

U.S. officials said the department launched the glossy "Hi" magazine in July in several countries in the Arab world. They said the initial print was for 50,000 copies, for distribution in Algeria, Bahrain, the Republic of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan Kuwait, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

So far, there have not been any articles on Al Qaida or the Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East Newsline reported. The magazine is available on newsstands and by subscription.

So far, the magazine has come out in July and August. Officials said the Arabic language monthly magazine has been aimed at those from 18 to 35. The subjects discussed in the magazine include education, technology, careers and health.

"It is a part of our public diplomacy efforts for this very large region, this important region, where we have been looking at opportunities to reach out to, particularly, young people, to talk more about the United States," State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said. "It is a competitive, commercially produced and distributed publication, and the intent, over time, is to make the magazine self-financing, or as self-financing as possible through advertising, through newsstand sales, and through paid subscriptions."

Officials said the magazine's operations are expected to cost $4.2 million a year. The newsstand price is the equivalent of $2 per copy.

The magazine is published by the Magazine Group, based in Washington. The distributor of the magazine is the Levante Group, based in Beirut, and printing takes place at a U.S. government facility in Manila.

"The magazine group, chosen through a competitive bidding process to handle the editorial and production side of the magazine, submits a list of topics for the various sections of the magazine as designed by people expert in this area," Reeker said. "They submit that to an in-house State Department editorial board which reviews these topics and submits comments to the magazine group."

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