Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
It wasn’t often in the days of hot lead type that Gene Marine and other editors of the Bellefontaine Examiner were willing to stop the presses, replate and start the press run again.
The final edition of the Bellefontaine Examiner on Nov. 22, 1963, included the updated news of Kennedy’s death and was redone at the last minute, as recalled by Gene Marine of Bellefontaine, who was sports editor at the time, and is a retired editor of the paper. (PHOTO | BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER)
But that was the case Nov. 22, 1963. News of the shooting broke at about 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.
“We had put the paper to bed, then all of a sudden the teletype started clanging,” the former editor recalled of the day John F. Kennedy was shot while riding in an open car through the streets of Dallas.
“Dalton Young (managing editor at the time) and I were up there (in the upstairs office of former Examiner building along Court Avenue) but most of the rest of the staff were gone to lunch or whatever. I just recall it being the two of us.
“The teletype started clanging and it said the president had been shot, so we stopped the press and started typing and rewriting as new bulletins would come in,” said Mr. Marine, a resident of Bellefontaine, who was sports editor at the time.
“At that time it took a lot. We were in hot lead type and the guys in the composing room had to take time to put it together and then they had to make a plate from lead.”
Although the top news earlier that day — much of which was about President Kennedy’s remarks outside his Ft. Worth, Texas, hotel — is lost to the editor, that day will live in infamy in his mind.
“We were all stunned and couldn’t believe what was going on,” Mr. Marine said. “We didn’t want to leave the teletype. It was a scary moment, but a very momentous moment, too.
“Everyone went home to their families and rehashed it. They turned television on and radio and rehashed it. Everyone was just stunned.”