Janet Steele

Janet Steele

Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs; Director, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication; Director, Global Communications MA
MPA 500; Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00-3:30pm
Address: School of Media and Public Affairs
805 21st Street NW
Washington, DC, 20052
Phone: 202-994-2004
Fax: 202-994-5806

Areas of Expertise

The history, ideology and professional practices of journalism; journalism in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor); narrative journalism; media in the developing world


Janet Steele is an associate professor of journalism at the George Washington University, and the director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. She received her Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University, and is especially interested in how culture is communicated through the mass media.

She is a frequent visitor to Southeast Asia, where she lectures on topics ranging from the role of the press in a democratic society to specialized courses on narrative journalism. Her book, “Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia,” focuses on “Tempo” magazine and its relationship to the politics and culture of New Order Indonesia. 

Awarded two Fulbright teaching and research grants, she has served as a State Department speaker-specialist in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Burma, Sudan, Egypt, India and Bangladesh. The author of numerous articles on journalism theory and practice, her 2014 book, “Email Dari Amerika,” (Email from America), is a collection of newspaper columns written in Indonesian and originally published in the newspaper Surya. Her most recent book, “Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia,” is forthcoming from the University of Washington Press.


Ph.D., American Cultural History, The Johns Hopkins University, 1986
M.A., History, The Johns Hopkins University, 1982
B.A., History, The College of William and Mary, 1979


“Journalism and Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia, Five Approaches,” Studia Islamika, Vol. 21, no. 3 (2014):  pp. 459-487.

Trial by the Press:  an Examination of Journalism, Islam, and Ethics in Indonesia and Malaysia,” The International Journal of Press/Politics 18 (July 2013) 342–359. 

Journalism and ‘the call to Allah’: Teaching journalism in Indonesia’s Islamic Universities and State Institutes,” International Journal of Communication, Vol, 6 (2012):  pp. 2944–2961.

"The Making of the 1999 Indonesian Press Law," Indonesia, October 2012, 94:  pp. 1-22.

Justice and journalism: Islam and journalistic values in Indonesia and Malaysia, Journalism vol. 12, July 2011, pp. 533-549.

http://web.ccas.gwu.edu/dev/filehost/8/Journalism article Janet Steele.pdf Professionalism Online: How Malaysiakini Challenges Authoritarianism The International Journal of Press/Politics vol. 14, January 2009, pp. 91-111.

The Voice of East Timor: Ideology, and the Struggle for Independence, Asian Studies Review, Vol. 31, September 2007, pp. 261-282.

Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto's Indoesia. Equinox Publishing and the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2005.

The Sun Shines for All: Journalism and Ideology in the Life of Charles A. Dana. Syracuse University Press, 1993.

Representations of The Nation in Tempo Magazine, Indonesia 76 (October 2003) pp. 127-145.

Suara Dari Dalam: Majalah TEMPO, 1971-2001, in TEMPO: 30 Tahun (1971-2001). PT Tempo Inti media TBK, 2001. pp. 7-18. [The Voice of Their Hearts: TEMPO Magazine (1971-2001).]

"Into the Brightness: Goenawan Mohamad and the Influence of TEMPO Magazine, 1994-1998," conference on "Media in the Asia Pacific World: Press and Politics in Economic Crisis," The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, Pomona, California, October, 1998.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Explain: Unofficial Sources and Television Coverage of the Dispute Over Gays in the Military, Political Communication, Spring 1997.

Experts and the Operational Bias of Television News: The Case of the Persian Gulf War, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4, Winter 1995, pp. 799-812.

Classes Taught

SMPA 2101 Journalism and Mass Communication Theory and Practice
SMPA 3244 Narrative Journalism
SMPA 3471 Media in the Developing World
SMPA 2177 Media History  

Theory and Practice of Journalism Students Weigh in on News Coverage of Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight


    Swedish Television visited Professor Janet Steele's Theory and Practice of Journalism class (SMPA 2101) to discuss the amount and the quality of the news coverage CNN has given to the missing Malaysian airliner. Reported by Stefan Asberg on SVT, Swedish Television


    Night on Earth: Woman of Steele


    Janet Steele joins BFM, the Business Radio Station for an illuminating discussion on censorship, independence and the power of the narrative. Listen to the podcast.