Bob Steele

Bob Steele asks and answers lots of questions on a wide range of ethics, values, reporting and leadership issues. In his role as the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values he has taught hundreds of workshops and thousands of journalists and media leaders at Poynter seminars since 1989. He�s also led sessions for over 100 news organizations across the country including television stations, newspapers and broadcast and newspaper groups. He�s frequently on the phone or online advising journalists and media leaders on real-time ethical dilemmas and challenges. He�s also been on the receiving end of thousands of interviews by reporters for stories about journalism ethics issues. Steele continues in the Poynter Values Scholar role as he joins his alma mater, DePauw University, as the Eugene S. Pulliam Visiting Distinguished Professor of Journalism. He teaches journalism ethics classes to DePauw students and also serves as a scholar-in-residence at DePauw�s Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. Over the years, Steele has written online columns and essays, journal articles, book chapters, and case studies and handbooks for professional organizations. He co-authored Doing Ethics in Journalism, originally published by The Society for Professional Journalists. He spent ten years as a broadcast journalist (reporter, executive producer and news director) then earned a Ph.D. at the Univ. of Iowa writing his dissertation on journalism ethics. He received a B.A. in economics from DePauw University and an M.S. from Syracuse University. Steele and his wife, Carol, now live in Greencastle, Indiana, where Carol also works at DePauw as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Their three daughters and sons-in-law live in Denver, Phoenix and Portland, Maine. Their grandson, Henry Ellis Nelson, is growing up in Denver but will surely become a Chicago Cubs fan and play tennis with his grandfather.


AP Made Right Call in Publishing Photo, Story of Fallen Marine

There is considerable controversy about the decision by the Associated Press to distribute a photograph of a Marine killed in combat in Afghanistan. I’ve written extensively about war coverage over the years, and I spoke with MSNBC on Friday about … Read more

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Protect Roethslisberger Accuser’s Identity Despite Being Named Elsewhere

This is a challenging case with competing ethical principles. It’s particularly complex given the lack of a criminal complaint prior to the filing of the civil suit. Fairness is clearly a concern when you name the accused but withhold the … Read more

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NPR Reports on Obama’s First 100 Days Through Citizens’ Stories

We often use benchmarks as measures of progress. How is our favorite baseball team doing at the All-Star break? How high is the corn on the Fourth of July? How many words does our one-year-old grandson say?

And, of course, … Read more

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SPJ Celebrates 100 Years

We often think of journalism in the context of big, metropolitan newspapers and far-reaching television networks. Significantly, a milestone in our country’s journalistic history took place at a college newspaper in small-town mid-America. It’s worth revisiting that moment –- and … Read more

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LA Times Pitched NBC on ‘Southland’ Front Page Ad Concept

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In its own explanation of a front-page ad that simulated a news story, Los Angeles Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein said “he decided to run the NBC ad despite newsroom objections because he was trying to ensure that The TimesRead more

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New Photos from Dover Increase Awareness of War’s Cost

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Amidst the economic tumult that is sweeping our country, it’s possible to forget our country is still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s possible to push from our consciousness the reality that Americans are still dying on those battlefields. … Read more

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When Obama Appears on Leno, It’ll be Interesting but Not Journalism

I don’t have a problem with Jay Leno interviewing President Obama. In fact, I’m fine with it. But let’s not call it journalism.

The Leno-Obama moment
is a conversation between a television talk show host and a government leader. It’s … Read more

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta Covers Obama’s Health Care Policies with Competing Loyalties

Dr. Sanjay Gupta wears many hats, or in his case, multiple white coats. He’s a practicing neurosurgeon, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, a TIME magazine columnist and more.

His multifaceted roles present ethical problems. The pressure points are on the principle … Read more

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As Ban Lifts, Photos of Soldiers’ Coffins Increase Understanding Through Visual Storytelling

War is about heroism and about horror. War reflects battles won and lives lost. As citizens who send our military men and women into combat, we must comprehend the commitment, the courage and the cost. We must grasp what it … Read more

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The Perils of Monetizing Even When Times are Tough

Spacer SpacerI accept that the word monetize is now carved into the floors and walls of American newsrooms, woven into the journalism culture, and implanted in the psyche of every editor. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I know … Read more

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