Category Archives: Newspapers

Epically bad ad placement, JFK assassination edition

Merriman Smith probably got a got a laugh out of this. On October 1, 1964, the Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal used one of his stories about President Kennedy’s death above a department store ad for the same type of rifle used by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.


A photocopy of the original page is among Smith’s personal papers. Oswald killed Kennedy with an Italian carbine. The copy notes that it was a “6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.”

Mistakes like this can be tough for newspaper editors to avoid, since they often design pages without knowing what’s in the ads. The Herald-Journal, an afternoon paper, went out of business in 2001.