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Prof. Bob Steele '69 Leads Task Force Recommending New Ethics Guidelines for NPR

March 7, 2011

85533March 7, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "NPR should have its journalists phase out any long-term contracts for appearances on other media outlets, monitor those appearances more carefully and make clearer distinctions between reporting, analysis and commentary in its programming, the network’s ethics-policy task force advised Feb. 25 [2011]," notes the latest issue of Current. "Bob Steele, head of the task force, presented recommendations for revising the ethics code to the NPR Board last month. Steele, director of the Prindle Institute for Ethics and distinguished professor of journalism ethics at DePauw University and a journalism values scholar with the Poynter Institute, was retained by NPR President Vivian Schiller to head the task force."

Mike Janssen writes, "The 13-member task force included NPR employees, outside journalists and citizens at large. Schiller appointed the task force after the much-publicized dismissal of news analyst Juan Williams last October. The firing prompted scrutiny of Williams’ dual roles on NPR and on Fox News, his obligations to the two networks, and the hasty, muddled way the dismissal was handled."

60937According to the report, "The NPR review was among the more extensive projects that Steele, an ethics expert who has advised more than 100 news organizations, has undertaken, he said. But 'this was not a case in which we had to tear apart the code of ethics and start from scratch,' Steele told Current. Throughout his work, he said, he heard much praise for NPR’s journalism and decision-making."

Access the complete article at the website of Current, founded in 1980 by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters and now an editorially independent journalistic service of American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C.

A 1969 graduate of DePauw, Robert M. Steele is Phyllis W. Nicholas Director of the University's Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics andDePauw's Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism Ethics. Last month he was quoted in a New York Times article on deals between shoe companies and ESPN reporters.

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