Culture

But Other Than That, Mrs. Kennedy, How Did You Like the News Coverage?

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Reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin's full-time gig is being the TV critic for the Miami Herald. He's just written an excellent piece about how the 24/4 coverage of the Kennedy assassination changed broadcast news forever and gave "a glimpse 35 years into the future, an [un]witting look into the world of 24-hour cable news":

Some journalists argue that letting viewers see the raw reporting process — mistakes and all — was profoundly democratizing.

"Before the Kennedy assassination, new[s] was packaged," says Fox News' Greta van Susteren. "You'd go out, shoot it, write a script, someone would make a decision about what the viewer was allowed to see and hear, and then you'd put it out. During the Kennedy coverage, viewers were part of the news-gathering. When they saw Jack Ruby shoot Oswald on camera, they were on a journey with reporters to collect the news. We do that all the time now on television."

In the years since, that journey has taken viewers to Cape Canaveral as the Challenger exploded, to the World Trade Center on 9/11, as well as to a Los Angeles freeway where O.J. Simpson's white Bronco fled police and the scenes of the disappearance of an apparently countless number of women whose main significance was that they were young and blond. For better or worse, it all started that day in Dallas.

Whole thing, well worth reading, here.