In the early afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, City Editor Bob Conrad and the rest of The Goshen News staff were busy putting the finishing touches on that day’s edition.
The top story was about a fire that gutted the Jessup’s Candies plant on Ind. 15, just south of U.S. 6. The editorial on Page Four urged readers to get used to using zip codes when mailing their letters. A photo of Goshen Civic Theatre performers promoting the opening of “Brigadoon” later that night at Elkhart Township Junior High School was tucked away on Page Five. And “The Women’s Page” recognized the 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Everest of New Paris.
It was a pretty normal day in small town America, Conrad remembers. Then, the bells started to ring.
“We were on deadline,” Conrad said this week via telephone from his home in Florida. “All of a sudden the teletype machine started going, DING! DING! DING! DING!”
For Conrad, who would later spend 19 of his 43 years with the News as managing editor, those bells meant something serious. They sounded so rarely, in fact, that during his four decades in the newsroom, Conrad said he can hardly remember another time they went off.
Back in those days the teletype was the machine in which newspapers received national and world wire news from the major news organizations. Conrad, just 33 years old at the time, walked over and read the bulletin the machine had spit out. It blared that President John F. Kennedy had been shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Conrad said. “We didn’t have a television in the newsroom, so we went downstairs to Publisher Bud Hascall’s office. He had a TV down there in his office and we turned on CBS.”