A couple weeks ago I wrote about how the media-industrial complex loves nothing so much as an anniversary -- especially a grim anniversary. With the arrival today of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, there's plenty of blanket coverage of an event that's half a century old, and lots of reflection on what the tragedy did to our nation and the world.
But the most compelling coverage you might encounter today comes from Boston.com, a Boston Globe Media Partners website, which is publishing what it's calling "a historically-accurate live blog featuring a moment-by-moment timeline of that tragic November day in 1963 -- as we would have reported it today." You can view it here. The blog includes photographs and video clips as well as eerily straightforward dispatches, like this one, which kicks off the day at 9:45 a.m.:
It's raining lightly outside the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. President Kennedy is greeting the crowd of people that has gathered in the parking lot.
After a morning speech at the Hotel Texas for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy get into their car as part of a motorcade that will take them to Carswell Air Force Base for a 13-minute flight to Dallas…
(JFK was struck by the assassin's bullets at 12:30 p.m. CST -- or 1:30 p.m. by the EST clock the Boston.com site is using.)
According to Boston.com, a team of editors and producers "spent weeks gathering photos, videos, and multimedia from a number of sources -- including the JFK Library in Boston -- to offer their readers an insightful look into the assassination."
Live-blogging past events seems to be an increasingly common tactic for commemorating history. Yahoo News recently live-tweeted the Gettysburg Address, and on the recent 12th anniversary of 9/11, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted 45 times -- starting at 8:45 a.m. when the first tower of the World Trade Center was hit -- to recount his memories of the day. And last year the Denver Museum of Nature and Science even live-tweeted the fall of Pompeii, via tweets from Pliny the Elder.
UPDATE: Well, this is awkward. Display ads for the Bertucci's pizza chain have been appearing in Boston.com's live-blog of JFK's assassination.
It was distracting enough when JFK was still alive, but now that he's been shot -- and chills keep running down my spine as I read lines like "Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is being advised to stand by for a severe gunshot wound" -- it's really jarring to be served up ads, right in the blog stream, informing me that Bertucci's is offering a 4-classic-dishes-with-insalata special for just $10.
UPDATE #2: Never mind Bertucci's. Here's an unbelievably inappropriate ad juxtaposition that just popped up:
UPDATE #3: A Boston.com spokesperson reached out to me to say that "the problem was fixed" and that the ads mentioned above are no longer appearing in the live-blog stream.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.