Hi Magazine

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Hi Magazine was conceived by the U.S. Department of State in 2002. In order to "establish the strongest connection with the target audience," Hi was produced entirely in Arabic by an Arab-American staff hired by the magazine's publisher The Magazine Group and "working in-house with a global network of stringers." [1]

Hi ... And Bye

Intended as a lifestyle magazine, Hi was launched in July 2003, "featuring a story on the American college experience, profiles of actor Tony Shaloub and jazz singer Norah Jones, an exploration of public smoking laws and hot yoga trends in the U.S.A. and the Middle East," according to The Magazine Group. "Complementing the print publication, The Magazine Group launched himag.com in July 2003. In addition to viewing content from the magazine, the interactive site enables visitors to respond to polls, submit poetry in monthly contests and ask questions about America."

On December 23, 2005, the Toronto Star reported in a story titled "US Shelves 'Propaganda Rag'" that "The U.S. state department announced yesterday it was suspending publication of Hi Magazine, its glossy, monthly attempt to win the hearts and minds of young Arabs, part of a communications troika it established following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ... The magazine had been derided by commentators in the Arab world as 'schlock' or 'brainwashing' and one had dubbed it the CIA's official publication. The decision to suspend publication was made by Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy ... The U.S. government has been spending $4.5 million (U.S.) annually since July 2003, trying to bring its own particular take on American life to a target Arab demographic aged 18-35. Along with Al Hurra TV and Radio Sawa, Hi was a three-pronged $62 million (U.S.) annual effort to counter anti-Americanism in countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and others." [2]

Distribution had been approximately "55,000 copies in 18 countries, although 95 percent were given way for free, officials said, ... it had been selling only 2,500 copies a month." [3]

Hi's Magazine Managing Editor was Fadeel Al-Ameen.

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