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Bill Ryan, NBC News

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I am having a difficult time finding much out about NBC's Bill Ryan. Reviewing the NBC Assassination Coverage in the last few weeks, I am so very impressed with him.

Speaking with a fellow JFK researcher, I found that he shared exactly what I felt with respect to Ryan's reporting on 11/22/63.

"I formed my opinion just from watching the coverage of that day on NBC. I video-taped the replay in 1988 on A&E, when they broadcast six hours of the coverage from Nov. 22, 1963. The first 4-and-a-half hours were continuous and unedited, while the last hour-and-a-half was edited from the rest of the evening.

Ryan made a lot of comments from memory, while the others were making mistakes constantly. He seemed the most self-controlled of the four, with an eye on the perspective of what the event meant. No offense to the other anchors, but they were predictably stunned by the news and seemed to be groping at times for what to say. Ryan, probably just as stunned, seemed much more in control than the others and seemed much more informed when he ad-libbed at various times.

I just base my opinion on personal observation"-Randy Owen

His perception mirrors mine.

There is not much information available on Bill on the Internet. This is the Wiki entry:

"Bill Ryan (full name William Emmett Ryan III) (April 4, 1926 – February 18, 1997) was an American broadcast journalist with the NBC television network and its owned and operated local station WNBC-TV in New York City for 26 years, and also served for a year (1970-1971) as news anchor at WOR-TV.

He is probably best remembered for anchoring NBC's coverage of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, along with Chet Huntley and Frank McGee."


I found it tremendously sad that Wiki had very little to say about him. I think he deserves more than this.

And a blurb by him (which I thought I would add).


He is mentioned in this book, Change mummified: cinema, historicity, theory

by Philip Rosen and I was most pleased with what the author had to say:


Also, there is a tape available (a tad pricey) on Bill Ryan's obit given by Tom Brokaw on the news. It is only 50 seconds long, but talks about and his career with NBC, and includes pictures. When I purchase it (next year) I'll be sure and add the information found to this.

A little extra--his introduction of another reporter and station call letters:


If anyone has any information on Bill, please add it .

I am just sorry I waited this long to find out just what he did and how he acted 11/22/63. I would've loved to have thanked him.

Edited by Kathy Beckett
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NBC Assassination Coverage:


This one is not broken into parts, and views easily.

Edited by Kathy Beckett
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"It's jarring when somebody comes up to you and says" You're the one who told me President Kennedy was dead." Bill Ryan, quoted in a 1988 AP dispatch.

From the book,Covering the Body: the Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory by Barbie Zelizer.


The book excerpt is well worth looking at. It gives alot of background on the newscasters.(I've spent so much time trying to figure out what happened that I kind of put aside how much they had to go through.)

(Thanks again, Bernice, for the photo)

Edited by Kathy Beckett
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A HUGE thank you to Gary Mack for his help.!!!! :lol:

From him:

"Bill Ryan was primarily a local guy whose career was spent, for the most part, at WNBC-TV, the NBC affiliate in New York City. I have forgotten why he was pressed into service on 11/22, but part of the reason may have been that Chet Huntley's partner, David Brinkley, who was based in Washington, wasn't available early in the afternoon when the bulletins began.

Here are some additional sources:




(The two links are: an IMDB Bio on Ryan, and second, a fantastic newspaper article about him.)

Since he was a "local guy", this certainly explains why not much is written about him. We were sure lucky to have him there when we did.

Edited by Kathy Beckett
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