Give Now

2011 Archives

Reporter recalls Kennedy assassination, interview with Zapruder

Excerpt

The following ran in the Los Angeles Times Nation Now blog on Nov. 22, 2011. SMU Professor emeritus Darwin Payne provided expertise for the story.

December 9, 2011

by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston

Darwin Payne, a Dallas native, had left the Fort Worth Press for the Dallas Times Herald a few months before President Kennedy was due to visit.

As a general assignment reporter, Payne had been assigned to stay in the office that day and compile information phoned in from reporters in the field for a story about First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Then the police radio began blaring news about the president’s motorcade.

“He’s been hit!” the city editor shouted, and he dispatched Payne to Dealey Plaza.

Payne ran the five blocks in his suit, stenographer’s pad in hand....