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Confirming JFK’s death, without modern-day conveniences

On Nov. 22, 1963, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were two reporters covering a presidential visit. MacNeil was a White House correspondent for NBC News. Lehrer was working the federal beat as a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald. Both men were assigned to cover President John Kennedy’s visit to Dallas. They ended up reporting on his death.

Without the modern day conveniences of cell phones or Internet access, reporting the Kennedy assassination was a constant game of finding a landline telephone to relay information back to the newsroom — or, in Robert MacNeil’s case, an on-air television studio.

MacNeil explains what it was like to rush around Parkland Hospital in Dallas as he tried to glean information out of the federal agents, White House officials and even Vice President Johnson. This video is an extended excerpt from MacNeil and Lehrer’s conversation with Judy Woodruff for our special report on the Kennedy assassination, 50 years later. Watch the special report on Thursday night’s broadcast of PBS NewsHour.

Watch more of MacNeil and Lehrer’s full interview with Judy Woodruff on the Kennedy assassination:

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