This article from CJR's archives is presented as part of our 50th anniversary celebration.
Smith: Everybody in our car began shouting at the driver to pull up closer to the President’s car. But at this moment, we saw the big bubble-top and a motorcycle escort roar away at high speed. We screamed at our driver, “Get going, get going.” We careened around the Johnson car and its escort and set out down the highway, barely able to keep in sight of the President’s car and the accompanying Secret Service follow-up car.
Tom Wicker, The New York Times: Jim Mathis of The Advance [Newhouse] Syndicate went to the front of our bus and looked ahead to where the President’s car was supposed to be, perhaps ten cars ahead of us. He hurried back to his seat. “The President’s car just sped off,” he said. “Really gunned away.” The press bus in its stately pace rolled on to the Trade Mart, where the President was to speak.
Smith: I radioed the Dallas bureau of UPI that three shots had been fired at the Kennedy motorcade.
[Leonard Lyons in the New York Post]: The other reporter kept demanding the phone, and tried reaching over Smith’s shoulder to grab it. Smith held on, telling his desk, “Read the bulletin back to me.” The other pool reporter started clawing and pummeling Smith—who ducked under the dashboard to avoid the blows. Smith held on to the phone, dictating and rechecking the bulletins. Just before the car pulled up at the hospital, Smith surrendered the phone.
Bell: I grabbed the radiophone, got the operator, gave the Dallas bureau number, heard someone answer. I shouted that three shots had been fired at the President’s motorcade. The phone went dead and I couldn’t tell whether anyone had heard me. Frantically, I tried to get the operator back. The phone was still out.
Baskin: We began to suspect the worst when we roared up to the emergency entrance of Parkland Hospital. The scene there was one of sheer horror. The President lay face down on the back seat
Bell: We were turning into the emergency entrance to the hospital when I hopped out to sprint for the President’s car. The first hard fact I had that the President was hit was when I saw him lying on the seat. Because he was face down, I asked a Secret Service man, to make doubly certain, if this was the President, and he said it was. He said he didn’t think the President was dead.
Smith: I knew I had to get to a telephone immediately. Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent in charge of the detail assigned to Mrs. Kennedy, was leaning over into the rear of the car. “How badly was he hit, Clint?” I asked. “He’s dead,” Hill replied curtly . I raced down a short stretch of sidewalk into a hospital corridor. The first thing I spotted was a small clerical office, more of a booth than an office. Inside, a bespectacled man stood shuffling what appeared to be hospital forms. At a wicket much like a bank teller’s cage, I spotted a telephone on the shelf. “How do you get outside?” I gasped. “The President has been hurt and this is an emergency call.” “Dial nine,” he said, shoving the phone toward me. It took two tries before I successfully dialed the Dallas UPI number. Quickly I dictated a bulletin.
Litters bearing the President and the Governor rolled by me as I dictated, but my back was to the entrance of the emergency room about 75 or 100 feet away. I knew they had passed, however, from the horrified expression that suddenly spread over the face of the man behind the wicket.