Original News Report on Lincoln’s Assassination Shows Much Has Changed

LINCOLNAs many Americans know, today marks the day President Abraham Lincoln was shot. The Associated Press released an edited version of the original 1865 news story filed from Washington D.C.

One of the most interesting aspects of the historical newspaper account, at least from a journalist point of view, is how the reporter ‘buried the lead.’ The reader does not learn until the third paragraph that the president has been shot.

The third paragraph of the story notes,

The groans of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact that the President had been shot, when all present rose to their feet rushing towards the stage, many exclaiming, ‘Hang him, hang him!’ The excitement was of the wildest possible description…

When reading the story, it’s interesting to observe what the reporter felt the reader should know first: U.S. Grant’s decision to bail on Lincoln’s invitation to watch the play — and the name of the play. Both of those facts were revealed before the reader learns the president has been shot.

Read the 1865 news account, here.

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Categories: American History, Civil War History

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