The murder of John F Kennedy 50 years ago presented newspapers around the world with a massive breaking news story with few solid facts. How would Swiss editors cope in uncharted media waters?
Kennedy was shot on Friday November 22, 1963, at 6.30pm Swiss time. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung was one of the few papers at the time to run an evening edition - all the others would have had to wait until the morning before going to press with their weekend editions.
This delay had the advantage, however, of letting the whirlwind of rumours and speculation settle somewhat (although the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald two days later only stirred up the confusion again).
Swiss editors reacted in more or less the same way across the country’s three language regions: clear the first three or four pages. Then: a “KENNEDY MURDERED” headline above a photo of a smiling JFK; latest news, based on US radio reports and news agencies; a mournful editorial praising Kennedy as a “symbol of hope” but without making any firm predictions on what his death would mean for world politics; a brief profile of Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson; finally, reaction in Switzerland, including official government condolence.
(Images: Swiss National Library, RDB)