By Karen Brown Dunlap
The call to serve your alma mater can be powerful, but when DePauw University came after Bob Steele they didn’t rely on sentiment. They came with a double-barreled offer. Dr. Robert Steele has been invited to return to DePauw as the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism, and his wife, Dr. Carol Steele, has been offered the role of associate dean of academic affairs. They have accepted and plan to move to Greencastle, Ind. this summer.
While Poynter will lose Bob on a daily basis, we will retain his distinctive voice part-time in his role as Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values. He and Dean Keith Woods have arranged for Bob to continue as co-leader of the Ethics Fellows program and critical issues conferences, among other things. Along with other faculty he will respond to the industry’s ethical questions on Poynter’s behalf.
Our ethics profile will remain strong under the fine guidance of Kelly McBride, group leader for Ethics Programs since 2004. Bob recruited Kelly to Poynter in 2002 and has acted as her mentor and colleague. He has also helped prepare other faculty to regularly teach ethics and respond to Poynter’s Ethics-On-Call requests.
Bob’s work here has been tremendous. As a wise voice responding to callers in ethical quandaries, Bob provides a special service to the news business for Poynter. As one of the nation’s most quoted sources on media ethics he helps those trying to understand and explain issues of news coverage and management. As a scholar he has authored articles, online columns, books and the 10-step guide for addressing ethical questions that now guides Poynter’s ethics teaching. He helped transform the guide into an online ASNE/Poynter Tool for decision-making.
Most of all, Bob is a teacher who guides media leaders, veteran journalists, and students to an understanding of news values and ethical conduct.
Steele is also a leader at Poynter. In nearly two decades he built our Ethics program and helped shape Poynter. He identified and recruited talented individuals for the faculty and National Advisory Board. In addition to recruiting Kelly, he recruited Keith and serves as a mentor to a number of colleagues. He’s been a strong voice in the strategy and management of the Institute.
Aside from all that, he is my friend. He is a part of my class, having arrived here in 1989, a year after I started teaching at Poynter. I can understand why, at age 61, he looks to the next phase of life and is drawn to serving young people and honoring another school that is important to
I know he will return to Poynter often, but I will miss Bob. In losing Bob and Carol, St. Petersburg will lose two vibrant personalities important to the development of this community.
Please join me in expressing our appreciation for all they have done for this area, for all that Bob has done for Poynter. We wish them happiness and much success.