Brett Shipp recalls growing up as the son of a newsman in the wake of the JFK shooting

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 5:49 PM

DALLAS -- On Nov. 22, 1963, News 8's Brett Shipp was just five years old; a little boy, watching his dad cover an unprecedented tragedy on a national stage.

Now, the tables have turned.

Brett is doing the questioning and shining the lights on possibly his toughest interview subject to date, his dad.

“My dad lived and breathed and was the news,” Brett said.

Bert Shipp is well known in these halls at WFAA for being funny, passionate, and getting the story.

“You had to earn your stripes with Bert Shipp,” Brett said.

In fact, the day JFK was shot, Brett doesn't remember his dad making it home that night. What he does remember is his mother's reaction to the news, while making lunch after school that day.

“I remember my mom breaking out into tears hysterically,” he said.

In the days following, the story came calling many more times.

“Sunday morning, when Ruby shot Oswald, we were actually in church and on our way home. I do remember my dad being very distressed," Brett said. "That was an event he had to go take care of on a Sunday."

And when the rest of the world had only heard of the famous Zapruder film, Brett was watching it on his home projector.

“My dad was one of the first to get a hold of a copy of the Zapruder film, and he brought it home and showed it to my brother and me,” he said.

Brett credits his father's influence for his intensity and love for journalism.

And now, even at 83, Bert is watching his son.

“I knew when I made my dad proud. I knew he watched what I was doing very closely," Brett said. "And while he wasn't exuberant in his reaction with his compliments. I knew he was proud.”

But through all the tough stories, or days his dad had to leave unexpectedly for a breaking news, Brett said his dad's humor is what kept the family going. Well, that, and his wonderful mother.

“She's 80 and still laughs at all of his jokes," Brett said. "I tell her, 'Don't encourage that man.' She laughs to keep from crying, I think.”

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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