Colleagues pay tribute to ‘Godfather of Journalism’.

By City Press Office (City Press Office), Published

The City community is saddened by the passing of Jeremy Tunstall, former Professor of Sociology.

Much-loved and respected across the University for his work with both the Departments of Sociology and Criminology and Journalism – which he was instrumental in establishing – Jeremy was well known for his literature that spanned many areas and eras in public culture.

Jeremy Tunstall

His first book, The Fishermen, published in 1969, studied the sociology of work that examined lives of Hull fishermen and the emotional predicament of working in a declining seaport. Latterly, he published titles about developments in the media world including Media Occupations and Professions (2001), The Media Were American: Mass Media in Decline (2007), and BBC and Television Genres in Jeopardy (2015) – all highly respected in the discipline of sociology as model contributions.

The Jeremy Tunstall Global Media Centre at City, established in his name, builds on Jeremy’s work with a focus on core elements of global media, communications, digital communications and policy.

Howard Tumber, Professor in the Department of Journalism, who has published a paper based on some of Jeremy’s key research, said,:

“Jeremy gave me my first academic post as a Research Assistant at City in 1979, and we became close colleagues and good friends after I was appointed full time in 1988.

His seminal ‘Journalists at Work’ in 1971 was the first major study of specialist journalists in the UK, and he witnessed with great interest the radical changes that have since taken place in the industry and the ‘goals’ of news organisations.

“He will be sorely missed.”

Petros Iosifidis, Professor of Media & Communication Policy, added:

"Jeremy was among the people who taught on my MA here at City in 1992, and I was lucky enough to have collaborated with him closely when I was appointed as a lecturer in 1999.

“Jeremy was always a very prominent figure in the department, and even in retirement remained an ever-present at departmental Christmas dinners until the pandemic. Always very modest, he was even reluctant to attend the launch of the Jeremy Tunstall Global Media Centre.

“I am very sad about his passing. The world of media sociology and journalism will be poorer without Jeremy Tunstall around.”

Professor Chris Rojek, Head of City’s Department of Sociology and Criminology, said:

“Jeremy’s work at City provides us with a valued model in our history.

“It showed the worth of inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary co-operative labour – something we should all cherish.

“He really was one of the great post-war European sociologists.”

Professor Mel Bunce, Head of City’s Department of Journalism, said:

“Jeremy Tunstall was a truly huge figure at City, particularly at City Sociology where he was a professor and City Journalism, where he was pivotal in setting up our Department.

Indeed he is sometimes referred to as the ‘Godfather of Journalism’ at City, particularly on the research and academic side.

“He was very much a thread running through my PhD in international news, and has been the inspiration for so many journalism colleagues in their research.

“Jeremy was a giant in our field and will be greatly missed.”

Professor Anthony Finkelstein, President of City, said:

“Jeremy Tunstall is a great loss to the City community and beyond. His legacy lives on in our work.”