Distinguished journalist visits campus, gives advice and insight

Few people know as much as journalist Hugh Aynesworth when it comes to the Kennedy Assassination.

Aynesworth visited Radford University as the cornerstone of a course team-taught by Professors Stephen Owen and Tod Burke.

The distinguished journalist was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times Herald, Newsweek and United Press International. As part of his work, Aynesworth witnessed the Kennedy Assassination, the arrest and subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and interviewed both Ted Bundy and Henry Lee Lucas. Aynesworth also interviewed Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a feat which he was able to achieve after playing basketball with him in Havana.


From left to right: Criminal Justice Chair Dr. Steve Owen, Hugh Aynesworth and Dr. Tod Burke.

“We hated each other’s guts,” Aynesworth said of when he interviewed Bundy.

Aynesworth noted that a major difference between investigating a crime now is how information spreads.

“If you wanted to find out about something happening instantaneously, you had to find a police radio and get near it,” Aynesworth said. “People didn’t have mobile phones or the internet then.”

Aynesworth got near an FBI car that belonged to a friend to listen to the radio in the aftermath of the Kennedy shooting to try and uncover more information.

The instinct served him well. Aynesworth heard suspicions of where Oswald was heading and witnessed his subsequent arrest.

This was just one of the many investigations that Aynesworth was a part of during his career. He also worked to prove that Lucas was admitting to murders that he could not have committed. His work on that case earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Aynesworth offered advice to students based upon his experiences, telling them to “work hard.”

“The harder you work, the luckier you get,” Aynesworth said.

The investigative journalist also urged the audience to not believe everything they read, but rather question it to discover the truth.

“Today, you don’t know what you’re reading on the internet,” Aynesworth said. “There are so many different stories for everything that happens. You just don’t know what to believe.”

Oct 25, 2016
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749