National Press Club

Late NPC Member Ike Pappas Recounts Chilling Moments of Oswald Murder for Club’s Oral History Project

November 21, 2013 | By Marc A. Wojno | MWojno@Kiplinger.com

Ike Pappas, legendary broadcast journalist and late Club member, shared his detailed and chilling accounts of his coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in a 2006 interview for the Club’s Oral History project. A 20-minute excerpt of this interview is available on the Club’s website (click here) in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Kennedy.

He was the reporter for WNEW Radio in New York who, back on Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963, tried to get a comment from Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald the moment Jack Ruby stepped in and shot Oswald dead. “There’s a shot!” he proclaimed. “Oswald has been shot! Oswald has been shot! A shot rang out. Mass confusion here. … Holy mackerel.” The actual broadcast is on YouTube.

Pappas, who was a member of the National Press Club from 1975 until his passing in 2008, sat down with then-History and Heritage Committee chairman Marc Wojno, to discuss his life in journalism and his involvement with the National Press Club. Pappas’s clear, focused and detailed accounts of the coverage, including his keen observations of Ruby mingling amongst reporters and police earlier in Dallas, are part of the Club’s oral history interview.

As a 25-year correspondent of CBS News, Pappas covered many pivotal moments shaping the latter-half of the 20th century, from the Civil Rights movement and several foreign wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, to the flight of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the moon. Pappas shares these moments and his personal life in the Club’s oral history. The full, hour-long video interview can be viewed, along with hundreds of other oral history interviews, in the Club’s Archives office.

The oral history project, undertaken by the History & Heritage Committee, has been a staple of the Club for more than 20 years. Members of the Committee have interviewed scores of legendary Club members, including former NPC presidents and staff, who played a role in shaping the Club’s evolution. Notable interviewees include former NPC presidents John Cosgrove and Donald Larrabee and legendary journalists including Helen Thomas, David Broder and Walter Cronkite.

To learn more about the Club’s oral history project and the latest projects the History & Heritage Committee members are working on, contact chair Gilbert Klein at gilbert.klein@yahoo.com. To schedule an appointment to view this and other oral history interviews, contact the Club’s archivist Jeff Schlosberg at (202) 662-7598, or JSchlosberg@press.org.