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How Would Journalists Report the Story of JFK’s Assassination Today?

The broadcast networks all produced special reports for the moment of silence marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy this afternoon.

In the Washington Post today, Melinda Henneberger asks how journalists would report the news of JFK’s assassination. Very differently, is the answer. Henneberger talks to several reporters who were in Dallas that day, including Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer.

You’ve heard the story about how Bob Schieffer drove Lee Harvey Oswald‘s mother to the Dallas Police department. But did you know he did it in a shiny new Cadillac that was on loan to the newspaper he worked for:

Schieffer says his buddy who was the paper’s car reporter had a new loaner he would test-drive until it was time to trade it in for the next one. Then he’d kiss his car of the week goodbye and send it off with a glowing review in the Sunday paper. “The mores,” the longtime CBS newsman says dryly, “were a little different in those days.”

Henneberger surmises, “as the media have become more educated and elite, journalists have lost something.”

“The quotes were better” before we lost so much access, Schieffer adds. Even with technological advances and 24/7 deadlines, he’s convinced that “we got the news out a lot faster” without all the layers of lawyers and image-makers in between them and the facts.

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