JFK’s assassination and the way it changed television

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - 50 years ago Friday, 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. For four days television networks went live with wall-to-wall coverage. It was those six seconds in Dallas, TX that changed television and the way people receive their news.

At the time he was assassinated, television news was still in its infancy," said University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism Director, Chris Campbell. "Radio and you know newspapers were by far the dominant sources of news for Americans. 

According to Campbell, it was that same year in 1963, when Americans began to recognize the value of television.

The assassination going live for several days afterwards you know television had never done anything like that," said Campbell. "People began to recognize that this was this remarkable medium for storytelling and for following especially current events and immediate events, things that are happening live."

Television was broadcasting events the audience had never even seen before.

"When Oswald was shot you know on live television I think certainly a milestone in television news history because it was like oh my gosh here's this medium where an event like this can actually happen right before people's eyes," said Campbell. 

Today, exactly 50 years later since JFK's assassination, it's thanks to images mainly captured by television that Americans can look back and learn about the tragic and historic day.

"This was absolutely a seminal moment in television history," said Campbell. "It was the moment when I think the nation and the world realized how the immediacy of television, you know the visual nature that these things made for amazing story telling."

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