Journalism Faculty

Karen Bordeleau

Contact Information

Office: Walker 6th Fl.
Phone: 8805
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Karen Bordeleau

Affiliated Faculty (2000)

B.A. Northeastern University
M.A. University of Rhode Island

Karen Bordeleau is a retired executive editor of The Providence Journal and an award-winning journalist who now teaches journalism courses in the U.S. and abroad. She is the first woman in The Journal's 187-year history to hold the title of senior vice president and executive editor.

Bordeleau is the 2016 winner of the Judith Brown Spirit of Journalism Award, presented to a woman who has had a significant impact on journalism in New England. She is the 2014 winner of the Yankee Quill, which recognizes lifetime achievement in journalism in New England. Bordeleau has also been named one of Rhode Island's 30 Most Powerful Women (2014) and one of the "Top 10 Women to Watch in the U.S. Media" (2013).

Bordeleau has organized journalist exchange programs with Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Kenya. She has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in 2015 and 2016. She is on the board of directors for the New England First Amendment Coalition, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, the Rhode Island Press Association and the Women's Development Corporation. She is past president of the New England AP News Executives Association and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors.

Bordeleau earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism at Northeastern University, and a master of arts degree summa cum laude in political science from the University of Rhode Island. She was a 2011 fellow at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Sulzberger Leadership Program and a 2012 member of the A.H. Belo Executive Leadership Development Program.

Bordeleau joined The Journal in 1996 and has worked as a reporter, copyeditor, section editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor and deputy executive editor for both the newspaper and its online component, providencejournal.com. She was an editor on the Station Fire series which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2004.

Bordeleau has spearheaded many newsroom projects at The Journal including:

  • Implementation of CCI, an editing and design system;
  • Implementation of an online calendar;
  • Development of content strategies to serve women and other essential audiences;
  • Reorganization of the newsroom staff into five topical teams;
  • Resectioning and redesign of the newspaper;
  • Redesign of the paper's eight Features sections;
  • Development of the newsroom's audience engagement strategy including Publick Occurrences forums, One Day University/Providence and TV partnerships;
  • Development of the newsroom's social media strategies.

Bordeleau has also served as the editor of The Kent County Daily Times in West Warwick, R.I., and The Call in Woonsocket, R.I.  She has also worked as an adjunct professor of journalism at several colleges including the University of Rhode Island, Northeastern University and Bryant University. Bordeleau has taught numerous reporting, writing, journalism ethics and editing/design courses. She has also used the classroom as a platform to encourage journalism students to push for access to public records and meetings.