Instructor of Journalism
MA, English Literature, University of North Florida,
BA, Journalism, Franklin College, 1994
Colleen Steffen spent 13 years as a feature writer and editor at daily newspapers small and large: The Elizabethtown (Ky.) News-Enterprise, The (Anderson, Ind.) Herald Bulletin, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union and The (Muncie, Ind.) Star Press. Covering everything from fatal train wrecks to 4-H cat shows, she specialized in telling seemingly ordinary stories in unordinary ways. In addition to her time in newsrooms, Steffen has worked in public relations for nonprofit historic-preservation group Indiana Landmarks; freelanced as both a writer and copy editor; served as a speaker and mentor to young high-school journalists through Ball State's Journalism Workshops; and taught at both the University of North Florida and Ball State University. A proponent of immersive-learning, she has taken young BSU journalists to cover three Olympic Games as part of BSU at the Games; to the Indiana State Fair as part of BSU at the Fair; on a trip through journalism history as part of Book Arts Collaborative, a student-run book bindery and letterpress; and on study-abroad trips to the U.K., Brazil and Italy.
As a college instructor, Steffen specializes in the foundational skills—sourcing, interviewing, idea generation—beginning journalists need to survive and excel in any newsroom, as well as an appreciation of journalism’s unique history, heritage and moral responsibility. Narrative storytelling and alternative story forms are among other particular interests.
Professional/Research/Creative/Publication Career Highlights
Steffen produced a few thousand bylines during her daily-newspaper career, winning awards for features, news stories and columns. Most recently she spent five years researching the unsolved 1913 disappearance of 9-year-old Catherine Winters from New Castle, Ind., and wrote a book-length nonfiction reexamination of the case. She is represented by the Sara Camilli Literary Agency.