Roland De Wolk

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Roland De Wolk (born 1953) is an American print and television journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. His career has spanned four decades. He contributed to Oakland Tribune coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize. He has won multiple awards for his journalism, including a lifetime achievement award. He has been described as "a star journalist" and "an ace reporter."[1]


Print journalism[edit]

De Wolk spent the first half of his four-decade career[2] at publications such as the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.[3] He also wrote for publications such as the New York Times[4] and Chicago Tribune as well as the Paris Metro (now defunct). In 1995 he co-wrote a travel guidebook for the San Francisco area called Our Town.[5] After the near shutdown of the Oakland Tribune in 1991[6] and observing changes in the media landscape in the early years of the Internet, De Wolk moved into television and online journalism.[7]

TV and online journalism[edit]

De Wolk moved to television journalism and worked at KTVU from 1991 until his termination in 2013. While at KTVU, he won multiple awards for his investigative journalism.

He was a contributing reporter/producer for the Chauncey Bailey Project, which covered the murder case of the well known Bay Area journalist and editor-in-chief of the Oakland Post.[8][9][10]


Since 1993 he has been a lecturer and adjunct professor of journalism at San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department, where he taught online journalism as well as news writing, reporting, feature reporting and investigative reporting.[11][12] Working with Professor Emeritus Leonard Sellers, De Wolk assisted in founding SFSU's Online Journalism Program, which started In 2001 he wrote one of the earliest college textbooks on online journalism, Introduction to Online Journalism: Publishing News and Information (2000).[13]

Awards and recognition[edit]

De Wolk won a Society of Professional Journalists Career Achievement Award, four James Madison Freedom of Information Awards from SPJ, and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Journalism.[3][14]

He was part of the 16-member Oakland Tribune team that was awarded a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for its spot news photography coverage of the World Series earthquake in 1989.[15]

De Wolk and Leslie Griffith won a Casey Award from the Journalism Center on Children & Families at the University of Maryland for their 1998 KTVU investigative news story called "Candy Kids", about the exploitation of children in violation of labor laws in selling candy. The citation called it a "provocative report on a subject rarely examined. It showed true enterprise and initiative and followed up with additional reporting. It provided the children’s perspective looking at a story that affects minority children not only in this community but elsewhere."[16]

He was an investigative journalist in a collaborative, multimedia storytelling project, called "The Price of Prosperity", which was produced in partnership between KTVU, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The project received a grant award from the Pew Center for Public Journalism in 2001.[17][18]

De Wolk won a James Madison Award in 2008 for digging into public records about the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's loss of income from drivers who obstruct the collection of fees for using its FasTrak system on bridges.[10][19]


In July 2013, De Wolk was employed as a producer with KTVU-TV, when the station's news team broadcast false and racially insensitive names of pilots involved in the July 2013 Asiana airplane crash at San Francisco International Airport. Anchor Tori Campbell read all four fake names on air. The names had reportedly been emailed to De Wolk by a trusted source, and he forwarded them to the newsroom with the warning "you'd better check these out."[1] The names were confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board before they were aired; the NTSB later apologized and said the mistaken confirmation had been given by a summer intern "acting outside the scope of his authority".[20] Three other producers were fired by KTVU after the incident.[21] De Wolk retained legal counsel and took action against KTVU. The station quickly settled, issuing a statement that De Wolk and KTVU had "reached an amicable agreement;" details were not released.[22]

Earlier in 2013, Electronic Frontier Foundation technologist Micah Lee claimed that De Wolk interviewed him for KTVU on the subject of doxing and its free speech implications, but inserted quotes from that interview in a story that aired on the subject of swatting, which Lee says was not discussed during the interview. The story was routinely removed from KTVU's website as were all such stories on KTVU servers as company policy for server space. The Executive Producer issued a statement to the EFF stating that after reviewing the raw tapes of the interview the station "unequivocally stands by its story." [23]


  • Gary Kauf and Roland De Wolk, Our Town: 50 Terrific Bay Area Escapes (Chronicle, 1995)
  • Roland De Wolk (text) and John Swain (photographs), Northern California's Best Family Campgrounds: 50 Fun, Affordable, Kid-Friendly Sites (Chronicle, 1997)
  • Roland De Wolk, Introduction to Online Journalism: Publishing News and Information (Pearson, 2000).


De Wolk is a graduate of UC Berkeley,[24] and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, San Francisco Chronicle political reporter Carla Marinucci, and two sons.[14]


  1. ^ a b Walsh, Michael (August 7, 2013). "At least 4 KTVU staffers saw prank pilot names before cringe worthy broadcast: report". New York Daily News. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Newsman keeps opinions off air". Contra Costa Times. April 24, 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Snapp, Martin (July 31, 2013). "Snapp Shots: Time at KCBS was best training ever". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Dewolk (sic), Roland (February 20, 1977). "An Idyll of Mr. Penn's Sylvania". New York Times. p. 167. 
  5. ^ "Check the summer crop of travel books". Orange County Register, cited by Orlando Sentinel. June 18, 1995. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Farhi, Paul (August 15, 1991). "Neuharth Foundation Aids Oakland Tribune". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Cruz Lat, Emelyn (January 10, 1998). "Part-time jobs add up to a career". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Justice is Waiting". The Post News Group. August 2, 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Staff". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Richman, Josh (February 21, 2008). "Journalism society awards Chauncey Bailey group, reporters". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Lasica, J.D. (December 16, 2000). "Is Broadband News Ready for Prime Time?". Online Journalism Review. USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Roland De Wolk". San Francisco State University. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  13. ^ De Wolk, Roland (2001). Introduction to Online Journalism. Allyn & Bacon, Incorporated. ISBN 0-205-28689-5. 
  14. ^ a b Saunders, Debra J. (July 26, 2013). "What's wrong with this news? The KTVU purge". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Williams, Roy H.; et al. (2000). "1990 A Spot Award: About the Results of the San Francisco Killer Earthquake in 1989". In Fischer, Heinz Dietrich; Fischer, Erika J. Press Photography Awards, 1942-1998: From Joe Rosenthal and Horst Faas to Moneta Sleet and Stan Grossfeld. Walter de Gruyter. p. 213. ISBN 3598301707. 
  16. ^ "1998 Casey Awards for Meritorious Journalism". Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families, University of Maryland. 1998. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  17. ^ De Wolk, Roland (Spring 2001). "'The Price of Prosperity': Journalists unearth stories beneath the veneer of wealth" (newsletter). Nieman Reports. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "Pew Center's New Projects: 16 Experiments Pioneer Education, Sprawl Coverage and "Sim City"-like Mapping Tools for Community Issues". Civic Catalyst Newsletter. Pew Center for Public Journalism. Winter 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Freedom of Information: 2007 James Madison Award winners - Page 2". San Francisco Bay Guardian Online. March 11, 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  20. ^ "Asiana pilot names: NTSB intern 'no longer with agency,' report says". Los Angeles Times. July 15, 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "KTVU Fires Staffers Over Fake Asiana Pilot Names Fiasco". San Francisco Chronicle. July 25, 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "S.F. naked felon in and out of psych ward". San Francisco Chronicle. September 25, 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  23. ^ Swan, Rachel (July 25, 2013). "Ousted KTVU Producer Allegedly Had History of Questionable Reporting Before Asiana Gaffe". SF Weekly. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Directory of Instructional Faculty, Administrators, Librarians, and Student Services Professionals (A - L)". San Francisco State University. June 3, 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 

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