Bob Steele’s 45-year professional career spans professional journalism and ethics, academia and the military. He spent nearly 20 years guiding the journalism ethics program at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, FL, working with journalists across the country and around the world. He consulted for dozens of news organizations and he helped guide the process of evaluating and rewriting the NPR News Code of Ethics. He has been frequently interviewed by news organizations including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, and CNN. From 2008-2014 Bob was a distinguished professor in journalism ethics at his undergraduate alma mater, DePauw University, teaching first-year seminars on values and storytelling, as well as journalism ethics classes and leadership ethics seminars. He also served as director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.
Bob graduated from DePauw in 1969 with a degree in economics. Right out of college he enlisted in the Army and served as a Signal Corps Officer in Vietnam in 1971-72. He then received his M.S. degree in television-radio from Syracuse University and spent nearly a decade as a television reporter and newsroom manager in Maine and Iowa. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa writing his dissertation on journalism ethics.
In 2010, the Society of Professional Journalists honored him as a Fellow of the Society, the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession He also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Journalism from DePauw in 2007 and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Emerson College in 2006. In 1972, he received a Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement while serving in Vietnam.