Veteran Journalist, Educator to Lead Communications Team at Cronkite, Arizona PBS

Thursday, July 16, 2020


Karen Bordeleau, an award-winning journalist and veteran educator, has been named director of communications at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Arizona PBS.

Bordeleau will oversee communications for Cronkite and Arizona PBS, including websites, press releases, social media, marketing, newsletters and periodicals, and the quarterly Arizona PBS magazine.

Bordeleau is also a professor of practice at Cronkite, serving as the Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Journalism Ethics in 2018 and as the Reynolds Visiting Professor of Journalism in 2019. She helped to develop – and now team-teaches – in the master’s in investigative journalism degree program through the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism .

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS – two major institutions that promote journalism excellence in Arizona and beyond,” Bordeleau said. “I have great respect for the leadership, the staff and the faculty here and I look forward to working with them in new and innovative ways.”

Bordeleau is the retired executive editor/senior vice president of The Providence Journal and is the first and only woman in the Journal’s 191-year history to hold the top editor’s position. She is responsible for shifting the Journal newsroom into a “story-first” digital operation and also is credited with introducing many audience engagement initiatives — among them the award-winning Publick Occurrences forums on complex topics. Under her leadership, The Journal won numerous state, regional and national reporting awards. The news organization was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Public Service for the “Forged by Fire” series in 2004, which Bordeleau co-edited.

In 2014, Bordeleau 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 Ten Women to Watch in the U.S. Media” by Editor and Publisher magazine. She also has 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 to countries such as 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. Bordeleau has taught journalism for 25 years at institutions of higher education including ASU, Emerson College, Northeastern University, the University of Rhode Island and Bryant University. She also has taught news management, advanced reporting, social media and ethics courses in Pakistan and Kenya.

Bordeleau is president of the board of directors of the New England First Amendment Coalition and is past president of both the New England Associated Press News Executives Association and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. She served as a Pulitzer Prize juror in 2015 and 2016.

She 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.

“Karen is an exceptional journalist, teacher and leader,” said Cronkite Interim Dean Kristin Gilger. “From the day she entered the school it was clear that she could do almost anything – and at the highest level. We’re thrilled to have her lead our communications efforts and look forward to her continued contributions in the classroom.”