Patrick J. Sloyan reconstructed Merriman Smith’s Pulitzer-winning UPI reporting of JFK’s assassination for the May, 1997, American Journalism Review. He also retold how UPI handled the story minute by minute.
Fifty years after JFK was killed, I
still don’t get the popular fascination with him. And until someone convinces me that
it matters to our public policy today, I really don’t care who killed him or what
was behind those fatal shots in Dallas.
The student paper’s
volunteer adviser, Emily Grannis, who also is a Reporter’s Committee for
Freedom of the Press fellow, talked with student editor John Vodrey on
the phone while he was in the station. That helped Vodrey cite
appropriate state statute and legal language to ask for an incident
I still object to shield laws. They are a de facto
form of licensing reporters. You are your sources are unprotected if
you’re not included in the definition of “journalist” or your work isn’t
I was covering federal courts and agencies for the
Enquirer 17 years ago during the previous lockout. One impression
remains unshakable: most federal employees told to stay home were
offended by the “non-essential” designation. They didn’t think of themselves as bureaucrats, but more
as civil service; apolitical and doing the best job they could with the
resources provided by Congress.