As It Happened: AP Wire Copy of the JFK Assassination

Fifty years ago, mobile devices, Twitter, and Instagram didn't exist, but the basic technologies of transmitting voice, text, and image electronically were well-established. Reporters in far-flung news bureaus could broadcast text through teletypesetter machines, and images via wirephoto machines, approaching real-time reporting of breaking events. When President John F. Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, Associated Press staffer James Altgens was photographing the motorcade, and became an eyewitness. His quick phone call to the AP's Dallas bureau became the first news bulletin about the shooting distributed across the AP's teletypesetter circuit. Hours of frantic reporting followed, supplying newspapers and broadcasters with information as events unfolded. If news is the first draft of history, then these pages of raw wire copy are pieces of the rough draft.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.
Jump to Comments

Most Recent

  • Altaf Qadri/AP

    Photos of the Week: 1/17-1/23

    This week we have scenes of India's preparation for Republic Day, a new image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, a Chinese home-made mechanical horse, K-Pop hopefuls in Seoul, a volcano that has been creating a new island near Tonga, and much more.

  • Kin Cheung/AP

    A Bioluminescent Bloom in Hong Kong

    A bloom of Noctiluca scintillans, a large, green marine dinoflagellate that exhibits bioluminescence when disturbed, shows an eerie glow along the seashore in Hong Kong.

  • NASA

    A Look Back at Apollo 16

    In early April of 1972, NASA was preparing to launch the Apollo program's 10th manned mission, Apollo 16—the fifth to actually land on the Moon.

  • Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

    The Bahraini Uprising, 4 Years Later

    Bahrain's anti-government protests, violently put down in 2011, continue in different forms to this day. Opposition leaders face jail time for speaking out, while protests continue on the streets.

Join the Discussion