Paris senior field producer Masha Macpherson was coordinating video coverage Saturday after the horrific news that a teacher in France had been beheaded the previous day. Macpherson was working with AP freelance video journalist Patrick Hermansen, who had been sending live video all morning outside the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where teacher Samuel Paty had held a class discussion about the Charlie Hebdo-published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
Juggling live and edited video coverage, Macpherson saw that phone video had surfaced in local French media of police attempting to arrest the man suspected of beheading Paty. In the video, which was shot from a home and behind a backyard fence, police can be heard screaming at the man to throw down his weapon and get down. A short time later, you can then hear, but not see, police shooting the man and killing him.
Macpherson knew instinctively that our best chance to get this video was through old-fashioned shoe leather reporting. She had Hermansen stop everything he was doing to try to pinpoint the location of the house from the amateur video and then find the owner. Going house-to-house, Hermansen eventually found the the right one and put the owner of the video on the phone with Macpherson, where they negotiated an agency exclusive for AP.
Dozens of customers used the exclusive video, including some key clients such as Sky News, EuroNews, Al Jazeera and Russia Today.