In 1963 the Associated Press and United Press International (UPI) relied on the teletype to deliver news to its affiliate newspapers as events unfolded. They sent and received typed messages over wire from point to point. The news bulletins were printed on a long scroll of paper with perforations that could be ripped off at any point.
The UPI teletype above reports the following initial news flash:
DALLAS, OV.#22 (UPI)—THREE SHOTS FIRED AT PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S MOTORCADE… JT1234PCS…
The coded portions indicate the date and time: November 22, 12:34 p.m. Central Standard Time, moments after the shots were reportedly fired at 12:30 p.m.
The rush of events resulted in confusion and some erroneous reports:
NO CASUALTIES WERE REPORTED… JOHN F. KENNEDY AND JOHN B. CONNALLY CUT DOWN BY AN ASSASSIN’S BULLETS… GUNFIRE POSSIBLY FROM AN AUTOMATIC WEAPON... PROBABLY FROM A GRASSY KNOLL… HE SAW THE PRESIDENT’S LIPS MOVING “AT A NORMAL RATE OF SPEED” WHILE HE WAS BEING RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL… PRESIDENT KENNEDY DEAD
Even the news flash was not without error, being received at 1:35 p.m., while the announcement actually took place at 1:33 p.m.
This edition of the Dallas Times-Herald for November 22, 1963 devoted the entire front page to the assassination, with a continuation on page 19. It too contained errors: “6 or 7 persons were believed hit” and “witnesses said 6 or 7 shots were fired.” The investigations determined the final official count was three shots. Other news which was readied for print prior to the assassination, included a report that Robert F. Kennedy would not resign from the cabinet to help manage his brother’s re-election campaign.
Dallas Times-Herald, “PRESIDENT DEAD: Connally Also Hit By Sniper.” November 22, 1963.
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