Like many of her generation, Flora Ogan remembers where she was, and what she was doing, on Nov. 22, 1963 when she heard the news President John F. Kennedy had been shot.
Unlike most, though, Flora couldn't let the shock of the news stop her in her tracks. She still had a job to do.
The former longtime editorial page editor at the Standard-Examiner was a reporter for the newspaper at the time.
"I was the only reporter in the newsroom. It was lunch watch. The wire editor Bob Ellefsen came out of the wireroom and said some (expletive deleted) just shot the president," Flora recalls. "He went back in, checked and came out and said it looks like the president is dead and told me to try to find Charlie (Carver) and Dick (Lindsey), the managing and assistant managing editors."
The newspaper was an afternoon daily at the time, so the press was running and Flora had to react quickly. She took off running down 24th Street to an eating establishment she guessed the editors were dining at.
She was right.
The rest of the day she was a runner between the newspaper offices and Western Arts, a separate facility where the metal plates were made of page images to put on the press.
"As new photos came over the wire we made over and had to have each new shot put to metal for the hot metal that was the way of the day then," she said.
Each new edition was rushed out on the street where kids hawked them as extras. It was the last time Flora remembers such street sales of the newspaper. She said circulation people went downtown with loads of papers and sold out, coming back for more papers and updated editions. Flora says the paper was made over eight times that afternoon.
As for the rest of the city? Flora says Ogden literally shut down. Schools and businesses closed and people went home or hung out waiting for the latest edition, while crowding around television and radios.
"It was one day at work that remains vividly in my memory bank," she said.
Friday is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. Reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg plans to have a retrospective story that day looking at the assassination through the eyes of local history educators. The story will cover their perspectives on Kennedy's political contributions, his image and popularity, how his death changed the tone of America, and his legacy today. Along with national coverage, we also plan a story on how a local business is contributing to the commemorative activities in Dallas.
COPY THAT: In this industry sometimes one news organization's loss is another's gain. That is the case with us recently when we hired an award-winning page designer/copy editor who was laid off by a Salt Lake newspaper in a cost-cutting move.
Keira Dirmyer has joined our Presentation Desk where she will have shared responsibility for the design, headline writing, proofing and editing of content that appears in our print products. We have shifted the workflow so that the Presentation Desk only has to focus on the print product. And Keira fits right in.
She has almost 30 years of experience in the industry, most of that as a copy editor. She has won awards from the Society for News Design for her work and comes highly recommended, even by supervisors from the paper that let her go.
She's also no stranger to the Top of Utah. Keira graduated from Weber State and lives in Ogden. She brings a local awareness of issues, culture and geography that would take a newcomer years to attain.
"I confess to being a news junkie and take great pride in producing a quality news product for the reader," she told us in her cover letter.
Those are attributes we want for our Presentation Desk.
Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or email@example.com.