Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Arab Writers Syndicate launched

Chicago -- Five Arab American journalists and writers have teamed up to launch the first Arab American Writers syndication which will feature daily commentaries and op-eds targeting mainstream American newspapers and publications.

The Arab Writers Group Syndication web site is http://www.arabwritersgroup.com/ and features columns by five distinguished writers including:

Ray Hanania, named Best Ethnic Columnist in America by New America Media in November 2006, and the recipient of three Society of Professional Journalism Lisagor Column writing awards, including two since 2002. Hanania is publisher of the National Arab American Times Newspaper (http://www.aatimesnews.com/) and a co-founder of the National Arab American Journalists Association (http://www.naaja-us.com/). Originally syndicated by Creators Syndicate in 2002, Hanania left in 2005 to self-syndicate to newspapers that include the Jerusalem Post, YnetNews.com, Saudi Arab News, Orlando Sentinal, New York Daily News and Newsday among other national newspapers. Hanania also blogs with the MidEast Youth news blog (http://www.mideastyouth.com/) and the DailyKos.com, and is senior political columnist for the Southwest News-Herald covering Chicago's Southwest Side and suburbs.

Ali Alarabi is a co-founder of NAAJA and a veteran journalist and columnist whose writings appear in newspapers around the country. Alarabi is a specialist in the Arabian language and proper translation as well as a political analyst for major network and cable TV systems. Alarabi si the managing editor of The Arab Desk (http://www.thearabdesk.com/) and a 1999 recipient of a NAAJA Excellence in Journalism Award.

Anisa Mehdi is an Emmy Award-winning journalist specializing in religion, the arts, and people. For over 20 years she has reported, written, directed and produced television news and documentary programs for major American media outlets, including National Geographic, PBS, ABC News, and CBS. Her commentaries have been heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She has written perspective pieces for newspapers, magazines and Internet sites. Anisa Mehdi is founder and president of Whetstone Productions (http://www.anisamehdi.com/), a New Jersey-based production and consulting company. She is adjunct Professor of Communications at Seton Hall University. Medhi is the daughter of the late pioneer Arab American journalist Dr. M. T. Medhi, whose "Action" Newspaper help define professional Arab American journalism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sherif Hedayat is an Egyptian American stand up comedian. He started his career in 1996 while attaining a B.A. in Mass Communications and Public Speaking from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. His humor covers a wide range of topics including family, education, religion, careers, dating, television, stereotypes, racism and growing up in the Middle East. Through his experiences living in America and the Middle East, he bridges the cultural gap in a way that everyone can understand. After almost four years away from stand up comedy, he returned in late 2006 with a new found energy and motivation. So far in 2007 he has opened for Comedy Central's Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour, the first all Middle Eastern comedy tour to air on national television. In July, he was one of 72 comedians selected to compete in Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight. Sherif currently tours clubs and colleges around the country. His web site is http://www.funnysherif.com/.

Saffiya Shillo is a creative writer, public speaker and Arab American activist who served as president of the Chicago Chapter of the Palestinian American Congress. She worked as an editor at the former Arab American View Newspaper and is a writer for the National Arab American Times Newspaper. A former communications director in Illinois government, Shillo has long advocated for improved communications and understanding as a solution to the Middle East conflict.

The Arab Writers Group will also feature more columnists and writers from allw alks of life. The target audience is mainstream American newspapers where, according to Hanania, "there is an unacceptable lack of balance in the presentation and discussion of Middle East issues. At a time when the Middle East and Arab World are front-and-center in the minds and lives of Americans, you would think that the 4,500 mainstream American newspapers would be interested in publishing more views by Arab Americans. Doing so might help Americans better understand and address the challenges this country faces."

Guest columnists will be featured each week.

For more information, contact Ray Hanania, 312 ... 933 ... 9855 or 708 ... 403 ... 1203. You can email Hanania at rayhanania@comcast.net.

# # #