The Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, home to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, is mourning the passing of Guido H. Stempel, III, 87, on Tuesday, May 31. Stempel passed away at the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University in Columbus.
Stempel, a distinguished professor emeritus, joined the Ohio University faculty in 1965 and served as director of the School of Journalism for eight years. He was named distinguished professor in 1982. During his time in the journalism school, he directed the school’s graduate program for nine years and journalism honors program for 15 years.
Stempel was also a long-time Messenger columnist.
“Guido Stempel was one of the best mentors and colleagues you could ask for,” said E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Director Bob Stewart. “He knew how to ask important research questions and how to communicate the results of that research in a way that everyone could understand.”
In 2013, the school named an award in his honor, creating the Guido H. Stempel III Award for Journalism and Mass Communication Research. The award, given by the faculty of the school, recognizes a body of research that has benefited the professions of journalism and related mass communication fields. Three scholars have been honored with the award so far and include Pamela Shoemaker, Cliff Christians and Kyu Ho Youm.
During the inaugural award ceremony in 2014, Stempel was applauded by Ralph Izard, former director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, for his commitment to teaching and research.
“Guido is a mentor to hundreds of people, a true scholar himself, an activist, someone who has completed a lot of service, and, of course, a gentleman,” said Izard in 2014. “In the eyes of students and faculty colleagues across the country, he has achieved the title of national master and is recognized by higher education and professional media across the country and around the world.”
Stempel was instrumental not only in shaping the curriculum of the journalism school but also in shaping the careers of hundreds of students. Pamela Shoemaker, the inaugural winner of the Stempel Award was a student of Stempel’s and is an OU alumna. In 2014, she said, “I would not be doing any of the work that I’m doing if not for Guido. He has changed my life and made me the person I am today.”
Along with editing and contributing to many publications and journals, including 17 years as editor of Journalism Quarterly, Stempel worked with the Scripps Howard News Service to conduct national public opinion surveys on a variety of topics since 1992 and served as director of the Scripps Survey Research Center from 2002 to 2008.
Stempel has received numerous awards, the most recent of which was the Paul H. Deutschmann Award for Excellence in Research, given at the 2007 national convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He also received the University of Wisconsin’s Harold L. Nelson Award in 2004, the Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award in 1994, AEJMC’s Eleanor Blum Award for Distinguished Research Service to Research in 1989, Ohio University’s Distinguished Professor Award in 1982 and the University of Wisconsin’s Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Profession of Journalism in 1977.
Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth says Stempel’s legacy will live on at OU, where he impacted students, colleagues and the field of journalism.
“In the history of a field, there are certain key individuals who advance teaching and scholarship in ways that leave a lasting mark,” said Dean Titsworth. “For the field of journalism, Guido Stempel was one of those key individuals. His leadership in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, the Scripps College of Communication, and at Ohio University not only shaped our own scholarly community, but also dramatically advanced the larger field of journalism.”
Stempel earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin.