Memories of Jay G Blumler | Ever Loved


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I had the privilege of attending the School of Media and Communication for 8 years in total. To me, Jay Blumler was the very embodiment of all the best qualities of the kinds of academics that the school hoped to nurture: relentlessly inquisitive, thoughtful and supportive, an excellent communicator on and off the page, and passionate about the field and its continued growth.

I feel very privileged to have spent time in his presence and am thankful for the memories and legacy he has left behind.
Some stories on Jay
David. E. Morrison

It is difficult for me to grasp that Jay is no longer here for me to talk with, have lunch, and exchange ideas. Having written on how I saw Jay’s intellectual work for his Festschrift I felt I had little more to say on that score, as indeed is the case, and hence held off writing about him, but then, on reflection, considered, given that I knew Jay over so many years, it might be welcome to offer snippets of stories that hopefully capture something of Jay as person -not of course that the intellectual can be separated from the personal. But the fact is, whatever the binding of the two, I never found Jay overbearing intellectually - life was more than just about the mind, something that made Jay such entertaining company.

When Jay, subsequent his retirement, became Advisor to the Broadcasting Standards Commission, (BSC) I was put in the awkward position of presenting research findings to him. The scene was that I was Research Director of a unit Jay had established – West Yorkshire Media Politics Group – which I then developed, from industry commissioned research and research council grants, to become the favoured place of the BSC for its’ University based research. It was strange, and unnerving, to present research results to the ‘Commission’ with Jay sat there as the lead interrogator. Gone was his accustomed introductory politeness to his questioning familiar to us from visiting speakers, replaced, as acting on behalf of the Commission, by a courteous but economy of address that readily exposed any weakness in sampling, data collection, or interpretative understanding, most particularly the relationship of the findings to the research question. I never liked giving presentation of commissioned research at the best of times in that having paid for the research the client was not as ‘forgiving’ as an academic audience to any weakness. Thus, if you can imagine Jay bringing the power of his intellect to bare on behalf of a client then you can have some idea of what was faced. But at the same time Jay brought to proceedings a wonderful academic fairness of intellectual interrogation uncontaminated by the fact that he knew me, and that I was representing the Department at Leeds to which he was associated, and loved. To me, it was Jay at his best – a pure example of what intellectual integrity ought to be. The fact that with his magnificent great bush of white hair, and it was impressive, he looked like an old testament prophet only added physically to reinforce the moral.
After such presentations, if we left the BSC around the same time, we would travel back to Leeds together having dinner on the train. They were lovely dinners, Jay complaining that he was not as young as me and shouldn’t’ drink so much. That might have been a veiled admonishment of me, I was never quite sure. But that was another intriguing side to Jay that most did not witness – one was never quite sure, at times, what was intended. Once, Colin Shaw, the Head of the BSC, a most intelligent and highly cultured person, took me aside following one meeting to say: ‘You know, sometimes I do not know what Jay is saying’. I said, ‘neither did I’. I then added, however, that he might wish to consider that Jay might not always wish for him to understand what he is saying. Indeed, one of the delights of policy meetings was that Jay would be so wonderfully in command of language, working it in a way delightful to hear, but at the same time confusing as to what he was actually saying in any substantive fashion. Once one understood that he did not wish the listener to understand, and that what he was doing was refusing to be pinned down to a position through the swirling talk that really gave nothing to grip onto, it was an absolute joy to witness. Such skill. Yet, come to a point on which he did wish to be understood, there was no one as clear as Jay. That also, was a joy to witness.

Jay may have been telling a good story on himself, but in the course of one of our periodic lunches together in Leeds, he mentioned that although he had been a ‘translator’ of Russian as part of the American forces in Berlin at the end of the War, his Russian was not that good and that he was accepted as a translator having practiced set piece statements that fooled the examiner. Perhaps, but Russian aside, I had presumed, given that Blumler is a German name, at least heritage wise, and that he had spent time in Berlin, he spoke German. He delighted in the thought that I would think so and took pleasure in saying that Blumler did once have an ‘umlaut’ over the ‘u’, but that one of his past relatives removed it. Jay said it made the name more American – I hardly thought so. He was now, it turned out, a little concerned at not speaking German as he had been invited to talk at the Free University in Berlin. With age, comes a nervousness of the unfamiliar, and I said I would like to go with him but I was sure he would be fine and that if in trouble just ask a young person as in the main they had access to English, even in the East these days, which if not he could use his Russian, at least with the older citizens. We agreed to meet for lunch on his return, and he could tell me all about the trip. The ‘debrief’ was so very Jay – unusual.

I was intrigued with how he had got on, but before I could make any real enquiry he asked me, what was the German for, ‘I am having difficulty fitting my hearing aid’? I thought this odd, to say the least. It turned out, however, that on the first morning of his stay he had phoned down from his hotel bedroom to the front desk to say that he needed help fitting his hearing aid, and that a nice young man came up to assist, and who, as he reminded me I had said would be the case, spoke good English. One might have expected that to be the case in an hotel and not quite an example of the lesson I had offered, but the lunch was turning out more entertaining than I could have imagined. I was laughing and asked him did he really phone the front-desk to say, ‘‘I am having difficulty fitting my hearing aid’? Evidently, yes. I said that was the modern day equivalent of the early travel guides to Europe that included considered useful phrases such as, ‘my postillion has been struck by lightning’, or the ‘cook is drunk and the maid has run off with the butler’. As a way of a lesson in grammatical construction such phrases might be defended, but as of use in likely occurrence not at all – difficulty in fitting a hearing aid, had to up there with the such past arcane instructions.

As entertaining as that was, what I loved the most of his account of his trip was when I asked him, what he thought of Berlin? All he said was: ‘It had changed a lot’. Given that he was a soldier in Berlin at the very end of the War when large parts of the city were no longer standing, even streets no longer existing, obliterated by rubble, it has to go down as one of the great understatements of all time. Jay then sang for me, in Russian, a Russian folk song. He said it was about a boy in one village with a girl he loved in another village that for some reason, the detail which I cannot remember, were kept apart. Without saying so I thought that which he was singing – the sadness of separation – was possibly the base of most Russian Folk songs. For sure, the cadence of the song was Russian mournful. It might have been that alone that contributed to the response of a close by table of young women, but by their glancing over at us, and the spluttering attempt at supressing laughter, suggested that they thought Jay was drunk. Nope. It was just Jay, being Jay.

I will end my reflections by saying that when I think of Jay I also think of when I first joined the ‘Department’ – not even a Department then, only years later did it achieve such status - and taking Jay and his friend and intellectual collaborator, Denis McQuail to dinner to a rather good French Restaurant – all formal stiff table cloths. I also invited Jays’ wife, Gina. If I was acknowledging Denis as team player with Jay in the early establishment of the field of communications research in England, then I felt recognition of Gina was also deserved – Gina was not separate from Jay. In fact, she was responsible for making the connections that saw the ‘endowment’ that allowed the establishment of the afore-mentioned Research Unit. Thus, for a variety of reasons, I felt that having Gina join was fitting, that recognition ought to be made – I think so now, indeed, I feel Jay would want that.

As it turned out I was particularly pleased that Gina came. We got on together immediately, which was just as well given that Jay and Denis locked together in conversation as old troopers who have seen action together tend to do, left little or no space for me or Gina to join with them. Gina was delightful company. We were both happy to let Denis and Jay get on with their intellectual reflections, not even listening in. At the end if the evening, however, I overheard Denis say to Jay, presumably offering completeness to some point or other, that he never did the empirical work that Jay did, choosing instead to write on communication research. He said he chose to do so be because he never possessed Jay’s energy to engage otherwise. I doubt I thought it at the time, but I do now - who does have the energy that Jay showed, and did so, for so many years? I find it a nice thought that Jay’s energy provided his friend Denis with the material for his work – given Jays’ impact and contribution to the field it could not be otherwise.
Jay was a scholar of the mass media. He really did not have a great interest in new media. Nevertheless, when he and I discussed - back in 1982 I believe - the idea of wiring cities with interactive cable communication, Jay volunteered to work with me on editing a book, entitled 'Wired Cities'. I don't think he would have ever done this had he not simply wanted to help me - which he did indeed do in his own wonderful ways.

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Only now have I had the mental and emotional strength to read through all these truly wonderful, heartwarming tributes.
I will take my time and read them again when ever I wish to find solace and comfort, knowing just what my father meant and inspired in so many of you.
Thank you for all your contributions and sharing your moments, thoughts and love of the great man; your friend, scholar, mentor and my truly one-off Dad!
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Jay Blumler was one of the first major figures I ever met in the early days of the development of media research in the UK in the 1960s and 70s. He was already a giant in the field, and it was almost a shock to discover the witty, personable, encouraging, and perceptive human being behind the reputation. Over the years I came to appreciate more and more Jay’s extraordinary capacity for clarity of thought, his originality, and above all his sheer enthusiasm and total engagement. The sight of his constructive dialogue in a small seminar with junior researchers at a conference stays with me from one of many such gatherings where our paths crossed. We all learned so much from Jay, not least the importance of the moral and political commitments so fundamental to significant academic work. I felt deeply honoured and touched by his continuing support over the years, not least when succeeding him editorially at the Journal, the EJC, he helped establish. He was an inspiration - personally, professionally, and academically, and will be hugely missed and fondly remembered.
Peter Golding
I first met Jay when he was already retired from Leeds University, and I went to help care for his wife, Gina, who was bedridden, and towards the end of her life. I remember being touched that he did not leave her at meal times, but sat up in bed next to her to eat his meals from a tray. After Gina's passing I continued to go from time to time, alternating with other carers, to keep house , shop and cook for him.
The first day I arrived he told me; "Don't ask me what I want to eat. Just cook anything, EXCEPT SPROUTS!"
After Gin a dies, he was very quiet for a long time. I would chatter away at meal times, and once I asked him, "Do you think I talk to much?"
He replied, "Do you think I talk too little?"
I know about his singing, as he told me that he used to illustrate his lectures with song. He started going to a singing group one evening a week, and I think I attended one of their concerts.
Once I told him that I loved the hymn,'Joy to the World.' He sang it all through for me, and added, "I did not know they sang that in England."

lthough Jay had been retired for several years when I met him he often took phone calls from students who wanted his advice about their University essays, and he was always happy to talk to them as long as they wanted.
Seeing his photographs when I wantche the funeral on line reminded me of a kind and freindly employer. I am so sorry I shall not see him again.
I have very fond memories of …
1988, Leeds Annual Croquet Championship
I have very fond memories of Jay spent many a weekend in Leeds visiting with Jackie, walking on the moors, sipping cocktails, watching Leeds United, playing croquet. Rest in peace. Wesley
I had the honour of setting up care and caring for Jay until the end. A very intelligent and humbled man. Had his little weaknesses but that is what made him special. I enjoyed asking him about his fascinating life and especially his research work. I would sometimes ask him to prof read my uni work, which he did with a smile , although he would change half of my papers 😂😂😂. At one point I was struggling with an essay and Jay helped me through it. And of course I got a distinction. Mind you I was meant to be caring for him. But we had a great relationship, it was easy for me to ask him to help me out. What a loss . He will be forever missed .

Rest well Jay J Habibi
Regarding Donations - There is a link at the bottom of the Obituary. Please do not try to use the Donations tab.
We shared our much loved grandchildren with Jay and spent many happy Christmas days , Thanksgivings , and family events with him. Always warm , kind and welcoming He will be much missed . Judith and George Avis
I’ve thought a lot about Jay since I heard of his passing. I first encountered his larger-than-life presence in London, when he addressed the BSA’s mass communications group in the early 1970s at the Polytechnic of Central London. Think back to the still-pioneering days of British media research, when because there were so few of us, most who were active in the field knew one another. PCL’s Friday seminar was one of the key venues of that time. Researching the sociology of broadcast news, you couldn’t but read Jay’s work. He was a pioneer of fieldwork in political communication who had cracked gaining access to the BBC. So it was certainly interesting to see the man behind the words.

It was even more interesting to hear the man. Jay’s presence and personality filled the space. The occasion was unforgettable. The lights went out just as Jay began his talk. We decided to soldier on while someone went to search for candles. Jay regaled us by singing and then, finally illuminated in the flickering light, continued with his talk. Afterwards, as was the custom, we went for dinner.

Jay was a generous supporter of my work when I was doing my PhD at the LSE, which at the time was not quite the right place for a thesis in media sociology. During my own fieldwork, he invited me to speak at Leeds on work in progress – a big boost to my confidence. And then, a couple of years later, agreed to be my external examiner, bringing his characteristic mix of acuity and generosity to the viva. We remained in touch from time to time ever since. I know, because he would make a point of saying so whenever we met, that he followed my work with benevolent and supportive interest.

My last glimpse of Jay in full flight was at Leeds, when he was holding forth at the lecture established in his name. That he could still stand and speak with his clear, emphatic sonority, without a single glance at a note, has set us all an enduring example we can only hope to follow. I was told he had put a lot of preparation into that performance – a total pro, as you’d expect. It looked and sounded enviably effortless.

Jay was a towering influence at the start of my career and a point of reference ever since. I cited him in my earliest work. And – no surprise – there he still is, cited in the most recent article I published.

What an extraordinary, sustained, committed record of published work. I will always see Jay as an inspiring figure, not least for his steadfast and continuing contributions to our field, and late in life, his consummate ability to keep up with the extraordinary changes that have taken place. He maintained an ability to reflect on a transforming world. And we will surely continue to read his work and think about the continuing relevance of his major contribution.
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Such a generous man, and such an influential one. When I first studied media and politics, Jay's was the name that you encountered wherever you looked. Early in my career, I gave a paper at the PSA. He was in the audience. Afterwards, he took time to talk to me about my half-formed ideas and to encourage me to publish them. It was such a kind gesture that made a real difference to me. Many years later, after I’d given another paper, which, I fondly supposed, had something new to say, he mentioned later - somewhat diffidently - that he’d discussed the same idea. Which he had; four decades earlier, and with much greater insight. I – like many, many others – owe him so much.
Jay Blumler will be fondly re…
Jay Blumler will be fondly remembered by my family as a cultured and generous man who always had an enthusiasm for life. Jay taught my father, Peter Carr, at Ruskin College, Oxford, in the 1950s. My father and my mother, Geraldine, remained lifelong friends with Jay, often meeting up with him at the annual debates organised by Derek and Jean Robinson at Magdalen College in Oxford, talking late into the night and putting the world to rights. As well as a distinguished academic, Jay was also a great musical talent. As a child growing up in the 1960s, I danced my first dance, not to the sound of the Beatles, but to a disc cut by a far superior skiffle band called 'Jay and His Rooks’, which featured Jay’s distinctive baritone voice. Jay encouraged my dad’s interest in American political affairs, eventually resulting in my family moving from the UK to live and work in Washington DC for several years and where my sister, Alyce, continues to live.We last saw Jay in 2017 in Corbridge (Northumberland), at the wake following my dad’s funeral and where we were also reunited with David Mervin, another of Jay’s Ruskin students. Then in his early nineties, Jay made the journey from Leeds alone and although tired on arrival he was nevertheless one of the last to leave, captivating the younger members of our family with his historical reminiscences and his sharp observations on the political power of the internet.In his memoirs, my father wrote this about Jay: ‘Among the most enduring of my Ruskin friendships I count Professor Jay Blumler as one of the strongest. Jay’s lectures in politics at Ruskin at that time gave coherence to my unstructured thoughts about politics. The clarity of his thinking and exposition of political theory lasted with me though the years...and he continued to contribute to my thinking well into both our retirements.’Our thoughts go to Jay’s children, Jackie, Matthew, Luke and Mark and to the rest of Jay’s large and loving family. Condolences and fond memories from Steve Carr, Alyce Penn (Carr), Nelson Carr, Lady Geraldine Carr and the wider family of the late Sir Peter Carr.
I was asked to write an In Memoriam for Jay for the Political Communication section of ECREA and produced the following.

Death of a gentle giant

Almost a quarter of a century ago, I had a lively and some would say rather heated exchange-in-writing with Jay Blumler, that giant of communication studies, who sadly died on the 30th of January this year at the respectable age of 96. The European Journal of Communication had published my article 'Who’s Afraid of Infotainment?' (1998), in which I argued that the use by TV news media of entertainment formats and the popularization of political communication was not necessarily downgrading political information as dramatically as some academics at the time claimed. To illustrate this so called ‘information scare’ I quoted extensively (if not only) from Blumler’s exemplary works. With his evocative style, he probably was the most outspoken and certainly the most repetitive in his critical assessment of a ‘commercial deluge’ where ‘slogans, images and racy soundbites take precedence over substance, information and dialogue’, inundating Europe, while ‘hardening our civic communication arteries’ and producing a ‘crisis of public communication’. I enjoyed his metaphors but thoroughly disagreed with his pessimism, and thought I had strong theoretical and empirical arguments to downplay his assumed ‘crisis of communication for citizenship’.

I had not realized that Jay, whom I had met a few times before, would be triggered to take up my arguments and begin a debate, which was subsequently published in later EJC issues. His 'Response to Kees Brants' was as eloquent as it was critical, very critical. More than discussing the data I presented and challenging the logic of my argumentation, he blamed me for being unhelpful and belittling his concerns and complacent about the dangers to public broadcasting. I wasn’t taking stock of the overwhelming evidence of ‘communication trivialization’ that was increasingly challenging the role, function and quality of communication and, hence, was threatening democracy. En passant, he threw me in with those ‘popular culturalists’ for whom reading a detective novel is in itself an element of citizenship. In my 'Rejoinder' I left my original ironic undertone and, in turn, blamed him for too unilinear and too final an argumentation, too much based on cross-cultural generalizations from one single country, the UK.

I had mixed feelings about our exchange: proud to discuss with such a pillar of our academic field at such a forum, but disappointed that he more or less ignored the empirical substantiation of my arguments, and taken aback by the tone of his critique (and that of my Rejoinder, for that matter). A former international master student recently reminded me how many years ago I had used the texts in class, where he asked whether the Response wasn’t ‘a horrible experience’: being ‘put on the spot like that by such a titan and heavyweight in the field?’ But later, he added, it had made him understand that that is how academia works. How it essentially is about this sort of scholarly exchange and debate and how this moves science forward. I wasn’t sure about that, but didn’t tell him that, nor how much I had been taken aback.

Days after publication of my Rejoinder, Jay wrote me how much he had enjoyed the discussion, which he felt was friendly and empathic. It got us somewhere, he thought. And, by the way, he was not so much afraid of infotainment but worried of the consequences (which I sensed was the same). He ended the machine-typed letter by proposing that we do a comparative research testing of both our claims and write a paper, arguing it out with empirically substantiated arguments to find out who was right. This is how from then on I came to know Jay and to enjoy his company: friendly, open and critical, inviting and challenging. Sometimes harsh, may be, but not hard. The paper never materialized, but we became good friends and collaborators in many another research. I came to appreciate him as a gentle giant and as the homo universalis that he was.

Born in the USA but with his academic career and his heart mostly in the UK, in his work he married politics in and by media (political communication) with politics of and for media (communication policy). Politics was in his arteries, so to speak. In 1964 he introduced his new found land to the role and importance of media in modern election campaigns, collaborating with his then young and new colleague Denis McQuail, to publish 'Television in Politics. Its Uses and Influences' (1968). With his fellow American Michael Gurevitch he wrote many a seminal article, most notably when in 2001 they described and labelled the start of the 21st century as 'The Third Age of Political Communication' (2001). (More recently he lectured about a fourth age but wasn’t convinced of its value and dropped the idea).

His interest in media policy was inspired by his care and fear for democracy, and what he saw as the necessity of media and the state to safeguard and enhance it. After researching in 1986 with Tom Nossiter 'The Range and Quality of Broadcasting Services', he went on to advise different Royal Commissions on the media. In 1992 he realized that with 'Television and the Public, Vulnerable Values were at Stake'. More and more his take on media’s role in and for society became a normative one. Which did not prohibit him from setting up and editing what I see as the first truly comparative study of mass communication: media’s role in the first European elections, 'Communicating to Voters'.

But next to a strong researcher, an original theoretician and an eloquent author (who at occasion would also burst into song with his beautiful baritone voice), Jay has always been a breath taking and entertaining orator. I now realize that he probably was the quintessential infotainer. His lectures were a joy and a learning experience to listen to and until very recently at conferences, seminars and workshops he would be the first to ask that penetrating question you wished you had thought of yourself (always beginning with a compliment and then followed by a sharp, to the point and sometimes mischievous comment).

I also remember how he saved a small, specialist seminar in Hamburg, sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation. It was, if my memory does not fail me, about what we can learn from different media systems. But the presentations and discussions were chaotic, exceptionalistic, inward looking, not analytical, and neither focused nor comparative. In short: the meeting was a balls-up and a shame. Jay kept quiet, his role was to summarize our discussion or, as most of us hoped for, bring some order in the chaos we had produced. And he did, in his usual eloquent way. In fifteen minutes, he introduced the systemacy and depth that had lacked so painfully in our contributions. He brought in the comparative dimension, the similarity and differences in democratic, moral, and tricky issues that were overriding the European picture, and presented it as if that was what we had said. I remember how we looked at each other in a mixture of surprise and pride. Was this us? Had we been that analytical and clever? Bertelsmann’s top brass present were as happy as we were, bathing in Jay’s glory and proud of what we supposedly had said but really was Jay’s.

On the sad occasion of his death, these are now fading memories. One of the last times I met Jay was at another sad occasion, in 2017, at Denis McQuail’s funeral. After the church service and during sandwiches on the lawn (and his proverbial song), Jay reminded me that during the war, as Denis had done later, he had worked as a Russian interpreter - Denis for the British, Jay for the US Army. I said I thought old soldiers never died, but Jay only smiled. Now I realize even gentle giants do.
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Photo included in Le Monde ob…
2019, Berlin, Allemagne
Photo included in Le Monde obituary (following here)
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Le Monde
Samedi 13 février 2021

Jay G. Blumler


par Roland Cayrol (Politologue)

Certains chercheurs marquent à jamais par leurs travaux, leurs méthodes, leurs trouvailles. D’autres irradient autour d’eux, ils sont des meneurs d’équipe, des entraîneurs. Jay G. Blumler, qui est mort le 30 janvier, à l’âge de 96 ans, possédait au plus haut point ces deux talents.
Né le 18 février 1924 à New York, d’origine russe, un père resté marxiste aux Etats-Unis et une mère fervente supportrice de Roosevelt et du New Deal, Blumler fait des études à l’Antioch College (Ohio), qui avait été la première université américaine à recevoir des femmes et des Noirs. Là s’est forgé l’humanisme fondamental du jeune Jay, dans cette institution dont la maxime est : « Ayez honte de mourir tant que vous n’aurez pas remporté la moindre victoire pour l’humanité. »
Passé par l’université de Georgetown, puis engagé dans l’armée américaine en 1944, comme interprète en russe, Blumler devient, à la libération de Berlin, président du Comité des anciens combattants américains de la ville. Des décennies plus tard, il se souviendra encore y avoir reçu Eleanor Roosevelt pour un thé ! Il hésite alors entre une carrière universitaire et la musique (il avait fait partie, à Georgetown, d’un quartette baptisé « Four Freedoms »). Il restera un incroyable chanteur, à la forte voix de baryton, entonnant volontiers – à la fin des réunions de travail, et jusque dans ses cours – des airs de folklore, de chansons populaires ou de jazz.
Heureusement pour la sociologie, Blumler choisit l’université. Il s’installe au Royaume-Uni en 1949, où il prend un poste de professeur de théorie politique à Oxford, avant de rejoindre l’université de Leeds en 1963. C’est là qu’il se passionne pour le sujet qui l’occupera toute sa vie : la communication, et spécialement l’audiovisuel, et son impact sur la politique. C’est là qu’il fondera, en 1966, un centre de recherche consacré à la télévision, qui obtiendra vite une aura mondiale.
En liaison avec le chercheur Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler et son équipe mettent en avant une théorie des « usages et gratifications », selon laquelle l’influence exercée par un média sur un individu, ou sur un groupe social, ne peut être uniforme, puisqu’il dépend des usages que celui-ci attend du moyen de communication.
Selon que l’électeur, par exemple, cherche dans une émission l’acquisition de connaissances, ou une distraction, ou un moyen de le guider dans son choix, ou des arguments pour convaincre les autres, le lien différent établi entre télévision et téléspectateur impliquera des mécanismes d’influence divers. Plutôt que de se demander « quel est l’impact des médias sur le public ? », on se demande donc « comment le citoyen utilise-t-il les médias, et pourquoi ? » Cela permet de rompre avec la sempiternelle réponse « on ne trouve guère d’influence des médias dans les enquêtes », pour révéler que le citoyen lui-même joue un rôle actif dans le choix qu’il fait d’un média, et que, par là même, ce média peut voir son impact démultiplié.
Energie et gaieté
A l’aune de cette vision, Blumler, des décennies durant, va étudier l’objet de sa passion dans son fonctionnement, sa régulation comme ses effets sur la vie politique. Il montrera le lien particulier et puissant entretenu, en matière électorale, entre télévision et citoyen, dans les élections britanniques, belges et françaises de 1974 ou lors de la première consultation européenne de 1979. Il le fera comme un chercheur scrupuleux, un humaniste engagé et comme un professeur passionné, notamment à l’université de journalisme du Maryland.
Puis il se déploiera, en Europe comme dans son pays d’origine, pour mettre sur pied des groupes de travail internationaux et promouvoir des recherches comparatives.
Tout cela avec une énergie et une gaieté communicatives, comme le souligne cette anecdote : son livre sur les élections européennes, Communicating to Voters (Sage, 1983, non traduit), devait être sous-titré : « One election or nine ? » (« une élection ou neuf ? » – le nombre de pays membres à l’époque). A la suite d’une faute de frappe, il était devenu sur les épreuves : « One election or none ? » (« une élection ou pas du tout ? »). Et Jay Blumler de s’écrier : « Génial. On devrait garder ce titre ! ».
Les sociologues et politologues qui l’ont connu perdent un grand collègue, mais aussi un joyeux ami.

Roland Cayrol (Politologue)

Jay G. Blumler
18 février 1924
Naissance à New York
Fonde et dirige un centre de recherche sur la télévision
Publie « La télévision fait-elle l’élection ? » (Presses de Sciences Po)
30 janvier 2021
Mort à Leeds (Royaume-Uni)
Jay and Jackie
2019, Vienna, Österreich
Jay and Jackie
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Jay and I joined the University together in the '60's. Ex BBC Audience research, I attended his early innovative seminars. Our families soon found and shared many common and new causes from reciprocal suppers over Mah Jongh and good eating. Adult Education loomed large for both of us and Gina, and the youngsters grew up in parallel. Croquet and fireworks figured, despite my reservations. While we both worked to demanding schedules, nothing could match Jay's contributions with very significant international colleagues across the world along with his local chairmanship of Swarthmore.
After long careers unto retirement of a kind, I persuaded Jay to join me at the Music Department's Lunchtime recitals to enjoy their superlative standard of programme. I'm sure Jay most enjoyed the choir works since he belonged to a choral group but he appreciated the scope and inventiveness of the programming as a University resource. So too was Jay, phenomenal through fifty years
I join several colleagues and friends in sending my deep condolences to Jay Blumler's family.
I first met Jay in the late 1970s, as young researcher in the big comparative research project on the first European Election (1979), under his leadership. It was an exciting opportunity to get acquainted with him and with Denis McQuail, the mythical authors of my 'bible' during my doctorate years: "Television in Politics"(1968). We became close friends and met several times since. I will remember him as a great mentor, and as a joyful man. It was always a pleasure and a privilege to work for him and with him! My wife Emilia ads her heartfelt condolences. She admired him and Jay was so nice with her
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Totally unplanned and excitin…
2016, Saint Pancras International Station
Totally unplanned and exciting encounter with Jay. He was returning by himself from Brussels, while I was on my way to Loughborough.
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Jay was an inspiring mentor and a warm person in the often cood academic world. He uniquely combined human behavior with great intellect. I have fod memories of him
I will always consider myself…
1981, Yorkshire Dales
I will always consider myself so lucky to have met and known Jay from the AEJ meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1977 to my last message from him on December 8th. Most memorable was our stay in Leeds during the winter/spring of 1981 where Jay helped me gain entry to the BBC and ITV teletext newsrooms to interview and observe the journalists working for this new medium for the 1983 book, Videotex Journalism. I will dearly miss Jay's cogent insights, positive encouragement, and warm friendship. Our field has lost an irreplaceable giant. My sincere condolences to Jackie, Matthew and Luke, and the rest of Jay's family.
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I am posting my friend Elvie Brown’s message here because it illustrates how great Dad was with our friends.

I was saddened to hear of your Dad’s passing Jackie. Although not unexpected it is still a difficult time for you and your family. Your father was, by all accounts a man of great stature. A man to be proud of.

My memories of your Dad stretch back to our happy , turbulent , adolescent years. Whilst he was a huge presence in your delightful home, he was always interesting and thought-provoking. It seemed to me, at that time, that he relished our youthful exuberance. He engaged with our thoughts and ideas and seemed to accept our crazy notions with joyful , positive regard. I always felt uninhibited at your home, which is amazing given your Dad‘s huge intellect , backed up by your Mum‘s kindness and generosity.

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Jay Blumler