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50th anniversary of the JFK assassination is full of business angles

As of today we’re one month away from one of the seminal events of the 20th century:  The assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

ebay sales of JFK memorabilia

Newspapers and medallions are popular John F. Kennedy memorabilia on ebay.

You can be sure that this milestone in American history will be commemorated, dissected and discussed extensively in coming weeks — here’s Politico’s take on the coming “media tidal wave,” which is why I think business journalists should start seeking a feature that connects the death of JFK with their beat.

It may seem morbid and opportunistic, but events and anniversaries that permeate the zeitgeist, as this one does, are also good opportunities to reach an audience that may not be regular consumers of business news.

Here’s Yahoo! “10 facts you didn’t know about the JFK assassination,” and here’s a report from the Dallas Morning News about the commemorative event to be held in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22; some 5,000 tickets were awarded by lottery to members of the public.  Most events of course will be centered in Texas, Boston, or Washington D.C., but as this Associated Press piece points out, some other communities are noting the anniversary.

More to the point for a business journalist, is this older AP “Big Story” report “50 years on: Finding profit in the ‘truth’ on JFK case.”  The lede is compelling:  “On the very day John F. Kennedy died, a cottage industry was born. Fifty  years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, it’s still thriving.”  I’m sure you can root around your region and find an author, speaker, collector or antiques dealer, or other person with a financial connection to the death of the 35th president of the United States.

This video is from Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, one of the many events in Dallas commemorating the anniversary of Kennedy’s death.


JFKs Final Days from Amon Carter Museum on Vimeo.

Or perhaps a computer whiz.  Yes, there’s an app for that.   The man who died when IBM punch cards were state-of-the-art now is commemorated in smartphone apps, including the JFK 50: NBC Remembers app from the NBC affiliate for Dallas-Fort Worth, which features historic footage, interviews, maps and the like, and the 99-cent JFK Assassination app from a company called zMac Consulting LLC.

Books and movies.  Amazon’s site returns more than 2,200 hits on “JFK assassination;” it seems there is no end to the market for new theories of and depictions of this day in American history — including the just-out feature film “Parkland” that dramatizes the assassination from the point of view of doctors, nurses and other staff.   Clearly you can check with bookstore operators (including online sellers; do a ZIP code search on eBay), movie house and film festival operators and any local publishing companies or book distributors about the public appetite for these works of fact, fiction and film.

Cafe Press I love JFK

Cafe Press has many JFK designs including this one in lime green.

Memorabilia.  From collectibles like newspaper covers from 11/22/63 to QVC’s replicas of Mrs. Kennedy’s jewelry to be touted Oct. 29 on the home shopping channel, the Kennedy collectibles industry is a multi-million annual industry; this dealer’s blog predicts a surge this fall and says X-rays of the late president’s pelvis have recently fetched five-figure sums; you can imagine what his old rosary beads will fetch when they hit the auction block soon.

Clearly it’s time to check with area dealers and collectors about, not only JFK and Kennedy items, but perhaps for a general primer for consumers on what sort of items hold value, how to time a sale (it’s no coincidence that items from vehicles to autographs are on the market this month) to what items of local interest might be hot.

Art related to the Kennedy assassination, and even handcrafted items like T-shirts and such on Zazzle and CafePress are worth looking into as well.

Conferences, exhibits, seminars and organizations.   A variety of seminars, fora, conferences and exhibits are scheduled, like this one at Bismark State University to this  new exhibit at Philadelphia University, in which members of the public can sit in a mock-up of the presidential limousine.   Even at non-profit events, someone is paid to create exhibits, acquire display materials, do research, etc. — you might find some interesting technology, career or other business and personal finance angles in them.

 

 

About the Author

Veteran financial writer Melissa Preddy served as a business writer, editor and columnist for The Detroit News from 1995 to 2008, is a Michigan-based freelance journalist. She now works as a writer and editor for a medical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Melissa Preddy

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