Despite being one of the nation’s smaller states, Arkansas is a vibrant place to pursue a communications career. The state offers great opportunities for communications majors to find work in journalism, broadcasting, advertising, and public relations. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services projects 5.4% growth in the number of media and communication jobs between 2008 and 2018, with particular growth in public relations.
The state is home to over 130 newspapers, dozens of magazines, 250 commercial radio stations, 23 commercial television stations, 26 cable television networks, and a variety of public radio and television stations. And although communications majors are likely to find the most opportunities in the state capitol of Little Rock, the northwest corner of the Arkansas (where retail giant Walmart is headquartered) has also enjoyed a boom in recent decades.
Undergraduate Degrees in Communications – Choosing to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a major in communications will give you the qualifications you need to start a career in mass media and digital communications. Whether you’re interested in journalism and independent filmmaking, or marketing and public relations, the know-how needed to reach people with a targeted message starts with a degree in communications.
Master’s Degrees in Communications – No matter your professional background or undergraduate major, you could earn a master’s in communications to prepare for a career in any number of diverse areas that include journalism, public relations, marketing, digital media and more.
Communications majors will find that the future for journalism in Arkansas is bright. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services forecasts a 2% growth in jobs for reporters and correspondents between 2008 and 2018 – an encouraging statistic during a time when most states report declining numbers. And newspapers are plentiful in Arkansas: as of 2010 there was at least one paper in each of the state’s counties, with a total of 28 dailies, six semi-weeklies, and 99 weeklies. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is the oldest newspaper in the state, and in fact claims to be the oldest continuously-published newspaper west of the Mississippi. The paper has a loyal readership, which has stayed steady despite declining circulation in most newspapers around the country. Arkansas also provides communications graduates with opportunities to work in Hispanic-oriented news: the state has several Hispanic papers, including ¡Hola! Arkansas, the state’s first bilingual title.
Local Newspapers and Guides:
- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
- Arkansas Business
- Batesville Daily Guard
- The Daily Citizen
- Blytheville Courier News
- Texarkana Gazette
- Arkansas Times
- The Sentinel-Record
- The Spectator
- Pine Bluff Commercial
- Press Argus-Courier
- Sherwood Voice
- Southwest Times Record
- The Arkansas Traveler
- Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Arkansas Chapter
- Arkansas Press Association
- Arkansas Press Women
- Southern Interscholastic Press Association
TV and Radio Broadcasting
Television is the medium of choice in Arkansas. There are 23 commercial television stations in the state, according to the Central Arkansas Library System, as well as ten non-commercial stations. The Arkansas Educational Television Network broadcasts six stations of educational public programming, watched by 300,000 Arkansans each week. All the major networks have affiliates in Little Rock, which also boasts several independent stations.
Religious, country, and talk radio are among the most popular formats in the state, according to the Central Arkansas Library System. There are 264 stations throughout the state, according to the Federal Communications Commission, with almost twice as many FM stations as AM stations. Many are owned by chains or groups, such as Bunyard, Clear Channel, Citadel, Crain, Max Media, and Saga.
Resources and Professional Associations for TV and Radio Broadcasting
Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
Communications majors are likely to find that advertising and public relations are particular promising areas for potential employment. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services forecasts that jobs in advertising and related services are projected to grow 8% between 2008 and 2018, while the number of jobs for Public Relations Managers is forecast to grow 10% during the same period. Overall, jobs for Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and Sales Managers are expected to grow 4% between 2008 and 2018.
Advertising and PR firms
- Communications Group
- Mitchell Communications Group
- Combs & Company
- Sells Agency
- Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods
- Mangan Holcomb Partners
- Rockfish Interactive
- Eric Rob & Isaac
Professional Associations for Advertising and Public Relations
- American Advertising Federation Northeast Arkansas
- American Advertising Federation Central Arkansas
- Public Relations Society of America — Arkansas Chapter
- Public Relations Society of America – Northwest Arkansas Chapter
Arkansas is home to a number of specialized and niche publishers, often focused on agricultural, religious, health, or military topics. The University of Arkansas Press publishes about 20 books a year, often on local and regional history. In general print publishing is in decline in Arkansas as in most other areas of the country, but there are opportunities to pursue for those committed to working with the printed word.
- Arkansas Business Publishing Group
- Gemini Books
- University of Arkansas Press
- Wizkids Publishing
- New Leaf Publishing Group
- Yard Dog Press
Book Publishing Associations and Resources