Editor’s Page: The Voices of HONOLULU

After two decades of journalism comes a daunting—but inspiring—responsibility.
Christi Young
photo: karen db photography

Writing my first Editor’s Page in HONOLULU Magazine is a daunting task. Talking about myself in a publication that has just marked 130 years—while covering Hawai‘i’s triumphs, failures, innovations, politics, businesses, communities and families—can make a person feel small and insignificant in comparison.


But being entrusted with the voice of HONOLULU is not a small responsibility. It is a huge honor that carries with it accountability. So, let me take a few moments to introduce myself.


I grew up in Mililani as the youngest and most irresponsible of three girls. As a kid, I discovered a love of storytelling in the theater and for 13 years—heart-stopping ones, I bet, for my parents—I spent most of my free time working on shows, on stage and behind the scenes. Somewhere between my role as a jellybean-pushing drug dealer in a Kīpapa Elementary School production and my turn as a comically homicidal head cheerleader/prom queen candidate at Mānoa Valley Theatre, I realized real-life stories were more inspiring, entertaining and impactful than anything imagined for the stage.


That was the beginning of my two-decades long journey in journalism. I interned at KSSK and KGMB—where I spent overnight shifts recording countdowns on stacks of giant three-quarter videotapes and splitting carbon copies of scripts—while studying at UH Mānoa and Northwestern University. For the next 10 years, I thrived on the fast pace of television newsrooms, mostly at KGMB and Hawai‘i News Now, where I oversaw all aspects of evening newscasts, and wrote and produced half-hour specials about everything from the controversial Superferry to the iconic journalist and anchorman Bob Sevey.


My life at HONOLULU Magazine began in 2011, just after I left television to start a family. I went from fashion blogger to marketing and, for the past three years, I’ve been the editor in chief of HONOLULU Family Magazine—a perfect place for a mom of two young girls. Now, as the new editorial director for HONOLULU, as well as HONOLULU Family and our custom magazines, my mission is to guide the way all of our editors and writers capture the voices and stories of the city for readers of all ages. What an amazing opportunity.


Journalism is a team sport. So is education, especially when it comes to keeping kids encouraged, engaged and in the classroom. For the tens of thousands of students reported chronically absent every year, skipping school can lead to other life challenges, including poverty and even prison time. Writer Jayna Omaye digs into the absentee statistics, uncovers the stories and examines the way schools and communities are trying to reverse this worrying trend in “Roll Call.”


The success of our schools is reliant on everyone, from parents to administrators to politicians. One woman’s career depends on it. Christina Kishimoto began her three-year contract as Hawai‘i’s schools superintendent in August after a controversial selection process. Since then, she’s been touring local campuses. Editor at large Robbie Dingeman finds out what the Bronx native discovered and how it’s shaping her leadership strategy.


Food and dining editor Catherine Toth Fox heads to Kapolei, where a new crop of local and new-to-Hawai‘i restaurants is turning the second city into a dining destination.  And while we cheer on Auli‘i Cravalho’s show, Rise, on NBC, in this issue we chronicle how the Hawaiian version of Moana was made. Senior editor Don Wallace takes us inside the studio as a team of music, audio, film and ‘ōlelo experts record the new translations, including those big Disney songs. It’s an intricate and fascinating process to watch a family blockbuster turn into something unique to Hawai‘i.


Features that inform, intrigue and inspire you to take action and explore O‘ahu—those are the stories of HONOLULU. I’m excited to be part of it.


Got a good story? Reach me at christiy@honolulumagazine.com