Read All About It
Newspapers have been published on the Big Island since the mid-19th century. Most have been in English, though there were Hawaiian language papers here until the 1920’s, and Japanese language papers (the largest was the Hilo Times) until the 1980’s.
Two daily newspapers circulate here now: the Hawaii Tribune-Herald covers the whole island from Hilo, while West Hawaii Today, focuses on the Kona and Kohala districts. Both are owned by a Mainland chain called the Stephens Media Group, headquartered in Las Vegas, NV. Being the only local dailies, they run nationally syndicated news, features and columnists, but also cover Big Island politics and issues, and provide extensive coverage of local sports. And both run a list every day, of islanders who have been arrested or charged.
The dailies are delivered to subscribers’ homes throughout the island, and can also be purchased from coin-boxes in commercial areas, alongside boxes for the two Honolulu dailies: the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, which are home-delivered only within Hilo, Waimea, and Kailua-Kona.
Two tabloid-size newspapers also serve the Big Island, and while they can be subscribed to by mail, they are free of charge in boxes around the island, and so are mainly picked up that way. The feisty Hawaii Island Journal, published every two weeks, is owned in Honolulu by the publishers of the city tabloid Honolulu Weekly. The Big Island Weekly, though owned by Stephens Media, is editorially quite independent. Both are “alternative”
papers: staunchly pro-environment, giving plenty of “ink” to counter-cultural topics, and intensely supportive of Native Hawaiian issues.
Both also run a column locally written in “pidgin” English.
To be fully informed, it’s worth reading at least one daily and one alternative paper regularly; and all four are available online, at:
While coverage of local issues may not be as comprehensive as some readers would like, the Big Island is about as good a newspaper market as you’ll find in any rural American county that’s 200 miles from the nearest big city.