Janet Steele

Janet Steele headshot

Janet Steele

Interim Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Email: Janet Steele
Office Phone: 202-994-2004
Fax: 202-994-5806

Janet Steele is professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs, and the interim director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. She received her Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University, and focuses on how culture is communicated through the mass media.

Dr. Steele 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. “Mediating Islam, Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia,” explores the relationship between journalism and Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Awarded two Fulbright teaching and research grants to Indonesia and a third to Serbia, she has served as a State Department speaker-specialist in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Burma, Sudan, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Jamaica, and Kosovo. 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, forthcoming in October 2023, is called “Malaysiakini and the power of independent media in Malaysia.”

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

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

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

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 MalaysiaJournalism vol. 12, July 2011, pp. 533-549.

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 Indonesia. 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.