The events of this tragic day – November 22, 1963 – were meticulously captured, quickly word crafted and photo processed, then delivered to a breathlessly waiting nation by hundreds of news reporters and photographers. One of the more heroic (and lucky!) efforts belonged to a recently hired 26-year-old police and crime reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bob Schieffer:
While covering the City Desk at the newspaper that afternoon, Mr. Schieffer received a phone call from a woman wanting to know if anyone at the newspaper could give her a ride to Dallas. Mr. Schieffer responded that they didn’t provide taxi service at the newspaper, and, besides, the President had been shot. She responded by saying, yes, she had heard that on the radio, and she thought her son might be the one who had shot him! She was Marguerite Oswald. Mr. Schieffer grabbed a colleague, Bill Foster, who was the paper’s auto editor and who happened to have use of a Cadillac that he was test driving for his next column, and the two of them drove over to Mrs. Oswald’s home on the west side of Fort Worth to pick her up and to drive her to the Dallas Police Department. Upon arrival at the police station, Mr. Schieffer grabbed a detective and explained he had Oswald’s mother and wanted to know where to put her so that reporters wouldn’t bother her. Pretending to be a detective, Mr. Schieffer, who always wore a snap-brim hat to make him look older and perhaps more “official,” was able to get Marguerite into a private room which also contained a telephone. He was thus able to phone information back to the Star-Telegram as the day’s events unfolded enabling the Star-Telegram to issue EXTRA editions that afternoon, scooping the Dallas newspapers. When Marguerite was later taken to a holding cell to be allowed to speak with her son, an FBI agent discovered Mr. Schieffer’s deception and banished him from her side, ejecting him out into the hallway with the other reporters.
The JFK Assassination provided rich fodder for news reporters who were just coming into their own. The following are examples of four of these men who remain relevant in the news industry to this day:
Bill Moyers had been serving in the JFK administration, recently having been appointed Associate Director of Public Affairs for the new Peace Corps in 1962. Following the assassination and because of his previous help to Lyndon Johnson during his earlier days as a Texas politician, LBJ made Mr. Moyers one of his Special Assistants to the President.
Dan Rather had been appointed by CBS to the position of chief of their southern bureau based in New Orleans. He was in Dallas covering JFK’s Texas visit for CBS when the assassination occurred.
Jim Leher was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald during this time.
Bob Schieffer, as noted earlier, was a newly hired 26-year-old police reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when he got a lucky call from Marguerite Oswald looking for a ride to Dallas to see her son, Lee Harvey, who was being held for the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit and possibly the President’s assassin as well!