The former co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists has died at the age of 85 prompting tributes from across the industry.
The duo oversaw thirteen editions of the textbook between 1979 and 2007.
Tom, pictured left, was also a former chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists law board.
Paying tribute to his work for the NCTJ and journalism training, NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “Tom was a true gentleman and a pleasure to work with and even after stepping down from editing McNae, he kept an active interest in the book’s development as well as changes at the NCTJ.
“The forthcoming 60th anniversary celebrations of McNae will be tinged with sadness without Tom and Walter but the strength and status of the book owes much to their joint legacy.”
Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell said: “Tom played a huge part in the lives of journalists working in all parts of the media because of his contribution to their training and in keeping them informed about the law throughout their careers.
“He was a dedicated campaigner for press freedom. That is why, along with the late Walter Greenwood, his co-author of Essential Law, he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Editors in 2007.”
Tom read law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge before joining the Westminster Press graduate trainee scheme.
After subbing roles at the Oxford Mail, News Chronicle and The Guardian, he became a lecturer in journalism at Harlow College for three years, and then edited the North London Press series where he launched the Camden Journal.
He taught media law at City University where he was the first director of the graduate school of journalism studies.
In 1979 he became editor of the Evening Mail in the same year he began his co-editorship of McNae’s.
Tom also founded the legal journal Media Lawyer before it was sold to the Press Association where it continues as an online service run by Tom’s former deputy, Mike Dodd.
Mike also succeeded Tom as a co-author of McNae’s, producing the 21st edition together with Mark Hanna in 2011.
Said Mike: “Tom was an inspiration to me, and to many others, as a media law specialist, as a journalist, and as a tireless campaigner for freedom of the press, the public’s right to know, and the right of journalists to report what happens in our courts.
“He always set the highest standards, and expected and encouraged others to match them.”
Professor George Brock, head of journalism at City University, added: “Tom Welsh was the organiser and inspiration at the start of the Journalism department at City University London and we salute his achievement.
“The department has grown steadily in reputation and size since its foundation in the early 1970s and that is thanks to the solid foundations which Tom built. He was a regular attender at our talks and lectures until very recently and we will miss him very much.”