Michael Bolden named to senior leadership role at The San Francisco Chronicle

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Michael D. Bolden, managing director for the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, today was named to a masthead position at The San Francisco Chronicle. He will join the Chronicle newsroom on Jan. 11 as Director of Culture and Operations.

“His significant contributions to the JSK leadership team helped raise the profile of the fellowship in the industry, as well as increasing its value to Stanford in a significant way,” said Dawn Garcia, director of the JSK Fellowships. ““He’s been a creative, powerful force for good at JSK and a joy to have on our leadership team. While we will miss him dearly, we’re happy that he’s joining the leadership of a news organization that we know well; one that is poised to make a real difference at a key time for journalism in our democracy.” 

Bolden joined JSK in July 2017 as one of two managing directors working with Garcia. Bolden’s strong journalistic background plus his experience immersed in the world of philanthropy made him an ideal addition to the JSK leadership team. Bolden managed the editorial, outreach and alumni elements of the program. 

Together, the team led major changes to the JSK Fellowships program, including creating a set of call-to-action themes that became the guiding principles for all of the fellowship’s work: Challenging Misinformation and Disinformation; Holding the Powerful Accountable; Eradicating News Deserts and Strengthening Local News and Fighting Bias, Intolerance and Injustice. 

This year, when the pandemic hit, the team pivoted to create a new community-based  fellowship model to meet the moment: the JSK Community Impact Fellowships, selecting U.S. journalists with projects that fill information gaps of underserved communities and news deserts, especially in communities of color. 

Among Bolden’s many accomplishments at Stanford was co-teaching “Journalism Under Siege: Truth and Trust in a Time of Turmoil,” with Garcia. The duo partnered with Stanford’s Continuing Studies program in Fall 2018 to create a series of panels to address outstanding issues facing journalists and freedom of the press worldwide.

Garcia, Bolden and Managing Director Pam Maples together have focused the program on journalism innovation, building collaborative cohorts and providing individual coaching to support diverse journalists from around the world who create solutions to journalism’s most urgent problems.

“JSK Fellows and alumni are transforming journalism with their great ideas, and I’ve been honored to help champion their efforts,” Bolden said. “Performing that work alongside Dawn Garcia and Pam Maples has been a highlight of my tenure; they helped me grow as a journalist and a leader, and I will always value their counsel and empathy. Their vision will ensure JSK continues to be one of the premier fellowships in the world. We’ve been supported in our efforts by the terrific JSK staff. Their dedication helps make JSK’s achievements possible. I will miss working alongside them, but I will cherish their friendship.”

Bolden came to JSK from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he served as the foundation’s first editorial director. Before joining Knight Foundation, Bolden worked at The Washington Post for 13 years, where he led the development and transportation reporting team and worked as an editor for The Washington Post Magazine, Style and Sunday Arts. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Miami Herald, the Northwest Florida Daily News and The Times-Picayune (New Orleans).