Communication Studies Associates, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Hawaii

Hawaiians know that the state’s spectacular scenery makes it a great place to live, but communications graduates will find that the state’s thriving media scene also makes it a great place to work. The islands are home to well-established newspapers, innovative news sites, glossy magazines, and a host of exciting opportunities in television and film. The natural splendor and abundant arts festivals have also encouraged a dynamic tourism industry, which means particular opportunities for communications graduates in public relations, advertising, and marketing. Overall, the state employment department forecasts a nearly 10% rise in jobs for media and communication workers between 2008 and 2018, with concentrations in larger cities like Honolulu, Ewa, and Koolaupoko.

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, creative writing 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.

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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.

TV and Radio Broadcasting

Since the 1950s, Hawaii has been a favored spot for filming major television series, such Hawaii Five-OFantasy IslandMagnum P-I and LOST. More than 26 major network series have been filmed on the islands, according to the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The popularity of television and film shoots on the islands has also created a host of spin-off industries, in everything from equipment rental to location scouting. In total, Hawaii’s film and television industry contributes annual revenues of more than $100 million, thanks in part to attractive tax credits. Even though most of these offerings are intended for a wide audience, local news isn’t neglected; the islands are also home to 117 television stations, according to the FCC, including five in Honolulu that produce local daily news broadcasts.

Radio is almost as popular as television.  68 licensed FM and 43 licensed AM stations broadcast from the islands, according to FCC, including stations owned by Salem Communications, Cox Radio, and Clear Channel Communications — all of which have offices in Honolulu.


Hawaii’s print media mix combines well-established newspapers and magazines with innovative online news start-ups. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (formed by a 2010 merger of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser) is the state’s flagship newspaper, as well as its largest news-gathering organization. Newer digital initiatives include The Hawaii Independent, which focuses on local news and investigative journalism, as well as the Honolulu Civil Beat, a site exclusively dedicated to civic affairs journalism in Hawaii. On the lighter side, lifestyle and travel blogs are another important part of the state’s media landscape; Hawaii Magazine runs several popular offerings.

Local Newspapers and Guides:

  • Hawaii 24/7
  • Hawaii Catholic Herald
  • Hawaii Island Journal
  • Hawaii Marine
  • Hawaii Navy News
  • Hawaii Tribune-Herald
  • Honolulu Star-Advertiser
  • Honolulu Weekly
  • Ka Leo O Hawaii
  • Maui News
  • Molokai Island Times
  • Maui Time Weekly
  • North Hawaii News
  • Pacific Business News
  • The Garden Island
  • West Hawaii Today
  • Hawaii Magazine
  • Hawaii Business magazine

Journalism Associations:

Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations

In an area with such a heavy emphasis on travel and tourism, careers focused on advertising, marketing, and public relations are likely to be good options for communications graduates. The state’s employment department forecasts a 16% growth in jobs for Public Relations Specialists between 2008 and 2010, as well as an almost 8% growth for Public Relations Managers during the same period. Social media is also an increasingly important part of the PR sphere, and Hawaii boasts one of the nation’s largest and most active social media clubs – a prime opportunity for communications graduates to get involved.

PR and Advertising Firms:

  • Communications Pacific
  • McNeil Wilson Communications
  • Bright Light Marketing
  • Olomana Marketing
  • Becker Communications
  • OrangeRoc
  • Ogilvy & Mather Hawaii
  • Element 8
  • O’ahu Interactive
  • TsunamiMarketing
  • Anthology Marketing
  • Harris Agency

Professional Associations for Advertising and Public Relations:

 Book Publishing

Hawaii is lucky enough to have one of the nation’s most vibrant regional publishing scenes. According to the state employment department, the islands are home to a mix of small and large publishing houses which produce about 200 new titles each year. Local houses focus on everything from Native Hawaiian traditional poetry and storytelling to works on Hawaiian literature, language, and history. The islands are also home to acclaimed literary festivals, including the Hawai`i Book & Music Festival and Maui Writers Conference and Retreat. The state employment department forecasts a 12.5% growth in jobs for writers and Authors between 2008 and 2018, which means that an independent writing career could be another great option for communications majors.

Book and Magazine Publishing Companies:

  • University Of Hawai’i Press
  • Tinfish Press
  • Mutual Publishing
  • Bess Press
  • Spotlight Hawaii
  • Lōi’hi Press
  • Honolulu Publishing Company
  • Island Paradise Publishing
  • BeachHouse Publishing
  • Kahala Press
  • Bishop Museum Press
  • Kamehameha Publishing
  • Koa Books

Book Publishing and Writing Association: