Here & Now plans special ‘live coverage’ of Kennedy assassination 50th anniversary

By Ben Mook

Like many Americans of a certain age, WBUR producer Alex Ashlock remembers key details of Nov. 22, 1963, the day when President John F. Kennedy was shot.

Kennedy

Kennedy

As an eight-year old boy growing up in Durham, N.C., he recalls being glued to television news coverage of the assassination.

“I’m old enough to remember what happened on Nov. 22, 1963,” Ashlock said. “I followed the coverage all weekend long.”

Now, 50 years later, Ashlock is planning a special broadcast of WBUR’s Here & Now that will incorporate “close to real time” coverage of the assassination. Since the midday show is produced live during the same window in which the shooting occurred, the Nov. 22 edition will feature live, breaking news cut-ins and interviews with experts, as if the Kennedy assassination was happening today.

The symmetry between Here & Now’s broadcast window and the timing of the historic event inspired Ashlock to mix simulated coverage into the regular broadcast.

Experts lined up to provide commentary include Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, author of The Kennedy Half Century: The President’s Assassination And The Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy. Steve Gillon, a history professor with the University of Oklahoma and an expert on Lee Harvey Oswald, will also appear. And WBUR tapped Boston University’s Thomas Whalen, a social sciences professor, to describe the political backdrop to Kennedy’s trip to Texas during what was his re-election campaign.

WBUR and NPR, which co-produces the series under a new partnership that began in July, are offering the two-hour special broadcast for free to stations that don’t normally carry it.

Here & Now is carried on more than 368 stations, to the show’s website.

  • jofus

    This isn’t a new idea.

    CBS successfully did the idea of re-creating historic events as if they were live news broadcasts in the 1950′s (and revived it for a couple of years in the early 1970′s) on “You Are There”, both version of which which were hosted by Walter Cronkite.

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