We mourn the death of Prof. Dr. Dieter Roß, who was a researcher and highly esteemed and popular colleague at the Hans-Bredow-Institut from 1965 to 1983 and then a professor at the Institute for Journalism at the University of Hamburg.
When Dieter Roß became emeritus professor in 2001, the Hamburger Abendblatt headlined its article of 13 February with the title "Prof. Roß: ein guter Geist geht"
[Prof. Roß: A Good Spirit Leaves]. Now, he has indeed left forever. Those who had the luck to meet and work with him at the Hans-Bredow-Institut or later, when he had already moved on to the university, will not forget him.
Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink
, Director of the HBI until 2021: "Dieter Roß has left his mark on the Hans-Bredow-Institut far beyond his time at the HBI. When I came to the Institute in 1986, three years after he left, I got to know and appreciate him at various events at the Institute. In the following decades there were numerous encounters and conversations that accompanied and guided my growth at the Institute. He listened with paternal understanding to the uninitiated empirical user researcher who was incited by the media-political "big bang" of the time. However, he also did not hide his doubts with regard to the validity of many empirical studies that tried to prove at that time to what extent the introduction of the dual system would be good or bad for society. As a historian, he also considered science in its long-term developments and was accordingly immune to considering daily usage figures per se as "new" findings. Likewise, he conveyed the importance of the historical development of the Institute itself with its special position between different scientific disciplines and the practice of broadcasting and media policy - in the years I worked at the Institute, he was always a wise advisor when it came to dealing with the challenges associated with this position."
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz
, Director of the HBI and former student of Dieter Roß: "Dieter Roß was an inspiring teacher whose linguistic wit ("not everything that limps is a comparison") was remembered. We mourn the loss of a subtle, empathetic person who could listen thoughtfully, plugging his pipe, and then with a remark untie a knot that others could not get undone in their zeal. No wonder his advice was in demand on both sides of the Rothenbaumchaussee (HBI and at the Institute of Journalism). I still remember after all these years how he brought me a glass of water and gave me courage during my journalism exam."
Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner
, Research Centre Media History at the HBI: "I am very grateful that I was able to get to know Dieter Roß at the beginning of the 2000s, when the Research Centre Media History started its work at the Institute. Dieter Roß, extremely amiable, always collegial, helpful, always unpretentious, took over the chairmanship of the scientific advisory board of this research unit. He dedicated himself to this task with heart and soul. Something that many people may not be aware of: Dieter Roß had a doctorate in history (his dissertation on "the German Policy towards Austria, 1933-1934“
was published by the Hamburg publishing house Leibniz-Verlag in 1966). And I would like to add: He was always a media historian as well. He spoke himself of the "blind spot" of many Germans in the 1950s, for whom "history" ended in the 19th century. For the grammar school student, the NWDR became a teacher of contemporary history. The student and scholar then began to scrutinise political developments of the 20th century. His interest in the causes, influences and pressures underlying change also led him to scrutinise the media system of the young Federal Republic of Germany forming after the Second World War. He devoted himself in a special way to his "own house", the Hans-Bredow-Institut. Whoever wants to study the person of Hans Bredow should take Dieter Roß' essay in the volume 'Strukturfragen des Rundfunks in Geschichte und Gegenwart' (Structural Questions of Broadcasting in History and the Present) (1980) as a starting point and follow how the 'father of broadcasting' campaigned for a politically independent public broadcasting system after 1945. Those interested in the early history of the Hans-Bredow-Institut can understand its difficult founding phase, when a public broadcasting service interested in scientific media research and a university in Hamburg interested in practical relevance came together (in: History of Northwest German Broadcasting 2008). It is almost needless to say that Dieter Roß was the kind of author that every publisher and editor could wish for."
Prof. em. Dr. Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem
, Director of the Hans-Bredow-Institut from 1979 to 1995: "Dieter Ross was a friendly, empathetic, competent and always reliable colleague to whom the Institute owes a great deal."
Prof. em. Dr. Otfried Jarren
: "I worked closely with Dieter Ross at the Institute of Journalism from spring 1989 to summer 1997. I had met him many years before at the Bredow Institute. I therefore knew his media-historical and his diverse institutional research interests. Dieter followed academic (and political) developments intensively, but kept his distance. He read a lot, such as works on contemporary history and history, and was committed to contributing insights and findings to teaching and debates. He did this less in a large circle; he cultivated the small round, which made it possible to speak and talk back. Thoughtless and trivial things did not hold water with him; he could be amiably mocking and ironic. Vain things did not meet with his approval. Positions and titles were not important to him who made this hanseatic city his home.
He commented thoughtfully, accurately. You could see and hear it: he was always working on his thoughts. He was able to grasp things intelligently, to penetrate them and to present his insights calmly, but also clearly (when necessary). He passed over many a technical discussion with the remark: One meets and meets, but it does not dawn on anyone.
He was the calming influence in the young institute, where I went to seek his advice, to hear his opinions. This took place, almost always, over tea. He enjoyed his pipe with it. Smoking in official rooms, what a time. Now and then there was smoke in the room, it was wonderful, then the smells of the stables mixed with his pipe smoke. So his room, of course furnished with personal seating, smelled like him. He was actually always there. From his office, looking over the top of the FAZ, taz, Spiegel or ZEIT, he could see the campus. Many media accompanied him every day to his place of work in the 'horse stable'. And on the way, he always had time for a conversation or two between doors.
I was able to learn a lot. Dieter Ross was a mentor in a time when there were no mentoring programmes. Now I have lost a valued colleague and a fatherly friend."
- Michael Meyen: Dieter Roß. In: Michael Meyen/Thomas Wiedemann (eds.): Biografisches Lexikon der Kommunikationswissenschaft [Biographical Dictionary of Communication Studies]. Cologne: Herbert von Halem 2016. http://blexkom.halemverlag.de/dieter-ross/
- Hartmut Weßler / Christiane Matzen / Otfried Jarren / Uwe Hasebrink (eds.) (1997): Perspektiven der Medienkritik – die gesellschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit öffentlicher Kommunikation in der Mediengesellschaft. Dieter Roß zum 60. Geburtstag [Perspectives on Media Criticism - The Social Examination of Public Communication in the Media Society. Dieter Roß on His 60th Birthday]. Opladen: Westdeutscher.
- Roß, Dieter (1980): Der deutsche Rundfunk – ein "Rundunk der Alliierten"? Der Beitrag Hans Bredows zur Rundfunkpolitik in der Gründungsphase des NWDR [The German Broadcasting - A "Broadcasting of Allies"? Hans Bredow's Contribution to Broadcasting Policy in the Founding Phase of the NWDR]. In: Hans-Bredow-Institut (ed.), Strukturfragen des Rundfunks in Geschichte und Gegenwart [Structural Questions of Broadcasting in History and the Present]. Hamburg: Verlag Hans-Bredow-Institut (Series Symposion '79) (pdf).
- Dieter Roß (2000): Wissenschaftliche Nische in Polit-Turbulenzen: die 60er Jahre [Scientific Niche in Political Turbulence: The 1960s]. In: Hans-Bredow-Institut (ed.), 50 Jahre Hans-Bredow-Institut [50 Years of the Hans-Bredow-Institut]. Hamburg (pdf).