Karen Bordeleau is the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics.
Bordeleau, a retired executive editor of The Providence Journal, is the first woman in The Journal’s 188-year history to hold the title of senior vice president and executive editor.
She is responsible for shifting the newsroom into a “story-first” digital operation and is also credited with swinging open the proverbial doors of The Providence Journal by introducing many audience engagement initiatives — among them the award-winning Publick Occurrences forums to promote civil discourse on complex topics. Under her leadership, The Journal has won numerous state, regional and national reporting awards.
Bordeleau began her journalism career when she was 17, writing a high school column for her hometown newspaper. She eventually became the editor of two small daily papers and then joined The Providence Journal in 1996 as a copyeditor and special sections reporter. Within a few years, Bordeleau had climbed to management ranks, first as managing editor for both the print and digital operations, then as deputy executive editor and, ultimately, as executive editor.
Bordeleau has spent much of her career pushing for open records and open meetings in New England, particularly in Rhode Island. In 2014, she was honored with the Yankee Quill — the highest individual journalism honor in New England — which recognizes a lifetime contribution of excellence in the field. In 2016, she was presented with the Judith Brown Spirit of Journalism Award, given annually to one woman who has made a significant impact on journalism in New England. In 2013, she was named one of the "Top 10 Women to Watch in the U.S. Media" by Editor & Publisher magazine. She has also been named one of Rhode Island’s Most Powerful Women by Rhode Island Monthly.
Bordeleau has organized and/or participated in many journalist exchange programs including those with Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Kenya. The mission of these exchanges and workshops is to share the principles of ethical and responsible journalism in countries with fledgling democracies and/or restrictive press laws. She has also taught news management, advanced reporting and ethics courses in Pakistan and Kenya.
Bordeleau served as a Pulitzer Prize juror in 2015 and 2016. She is a member of the board of directors for the New England First Amendment Coalition, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, and the Women’s Development Corporation. She is past president of both the New England Associated Press News Executives Association and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors.
Bordeleau has taught journalism for 21 years at institutions of higher education including Emerson College, Northeastern University, the University of Rhode Island and Bryant University. She is currently a member of the affiliated faculty at Emerson. Though she has taught most journalism courses from foundations to advanced reporting, her specialty is journalism ethics.
Bordeleau holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in political science summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island. She was a Sulzberger fellow at Columbia University in 2011.