My Personal JFK Reflections

Friday, November 29, 2013
Aaron Shilker's posthumously commissioned official White House portrait of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Up until the tragic events of 9/11, people of my age group (and younger) did not have their own "where were you?" moment like those born before 1957-1958 did when our nation's 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas' Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.  While our nation had experienced similar terrible events in its past (Pearl Harbor, the similar political killings of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, natural disasters like the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake), what made the Kennedy murder much more profound was in the way we all learned about it.  News of the Japanese attack on our Hawaiian naval and aviation outposts (and FDR's subsequent declaration of war against Japan) was disseminated via the most modern technology of that time--radio; however, because of its remote location, it took nearly two weeks for some newspapers to get the initial images of the damage and several months later for people to see the devastation in newsreel coverage at their local movie theaters.

Farewell, Early Bird

Sunday, November 10, 2013
A screen capture of a .pdf version of the Pentagon's final published Early Bird daily press compilation.

As we have seen in recent years--and will undoubtedly continue to see--in the print journalism sector, publications that were a significant part of the everyday lives of many thousands of people have been relegated to our collective memories due to the changing paradigms and business models of that industry.  While not its own unique periodical, the Pentagon's Early Bird was, for many, their main source of defense and defense-related national security information and they never paid a subscription price for its contents during its near 50-year run that officially ended on November 1st.

Journalism's Role in "The Panic Broadcast" of 1938

Monday, November 4, 2013
Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater on the Air show scared the bejeezus out of many Americans 75 years ago last week

There aren't many people around today that have a first-hand account of the Halloween Eve radio offering that was dubbed "the panic broadcast" when it first aired in late October 1938.  Orson Wells, the multi-talented actor, director, playwright and prodigy, transformed H.G. Wells' late 19th century novel The War of the Worlds into a live-action radio drama that transfixed portions of his audience in their chairs with a ring-side seat to the destruction of the human race by Martian invaders.