The assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy was a pivotal moment for the nation — and the nation’s news teams. And in nearly every area of life, a lot has changed since the charismatic leader died 50 years ago today. One of the most pronounced shifts is in the news gathering and reporting process.
In honor of this pivotal historical moment, several news organizations have taken the chance to, in a sense, rewrite history by covering the event again in real time using modern reporting tools.
So what if JFK had died today? Here’s how some news organizations would cover it:
Live tweeting: NPR has created a feed @Todayin1963 that’s spewing out updates as they might have covered it at the time.
Live streaming video: CBS News has a live stream of their original coverage of JFK’s assassination in real time — from parade through funeral this weekend. You can watch it here.
Real-time blog updates: KERA, the public media outlet for north Texas, and others, are posting live updates from Delaney Plaza today. Not of the events as they unfolded 50 years ago like CBS and NPR, but it offers a glimpse at the type of coverage we’d expect if this were a breaking news event.
It’s interesting to see, on such a solemn anniversary, how many more options we have for real-time news thanks to the Internet. I imagine if this happened today, we’d quickly have Facebook memorials, crowd-sourcing of memories and memorabilia with the president, and also a very quick surfacing on the back story of Lee Harvey Oswald (likely built from his own contributions to social networks that in the 1960s hadn’t been dreamt of yet).
Of course, the Internet is also a great way to spread conspiracy theories quickly… and given the background on this story, maybe it’s a good thing this didn’t actually unfold in the Internet age?
YOUR TURN: What’s the most interesting coverage of JFK you’ve seen this week?
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