From the book Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11|
By Cathy Trost, Alicia C. Shepard, Newseum
Park Foreman, Technology Security Consultant
The radio went to static. I happened to bend over by the window to turn off the radio. In a way, the absence of the radio was an indicator that something happened. I live in Brooklyn Heights. My living room faces northwest across the river and I can see the Trade Center and most of Lower Manhattan. I see the smoke and think it's a bad office fire.
I grabbed my Sony digital video camera and went up on the roof and stood there videoing for maybe five minutes after the thing hit. Smoke was traveling over Brooklyn with little pieces of paper landing on the ground and sidewalk like snow.
I zoomed in and realized there were bodies falling out of the building. You could actually see some of them tumble. I saw one guy clinging on tight to something and then fall. I saw four or five bodies. I have three on the video now.
I took my video camera downstairs after both buildings were up in flames and loaded the video onto my computer. I couldn't use my telephone. I sent an e-mail to my brother Howell in Atlanta to tell him what I had. He had telephone service. He could conduct negotiations and find a buyer. When you see something like that, you know you can sell it. Maybe to CNN, I though, they're in Atlanta. Howell started making calls.
I told CNN I could try to download my video over the Internet. It would have taken hours. They had a person in New York who lives about three blocks away. She's a producer for CNN. She scooted down, picked up the tape and then they couldn't use it. She came back for the camera. Not more than an hour or so after they got the camera from me, the video was on the air. About 3 or 3:30 p.m. It was exclusive.
CNN didn't run all the video I shot. Only five seconds of the airplane flying across the city, only the sensational part. They did not show the bodies. They were definitely into the drama and sensational. CNN paid me a lot. It's embarrassing to say, almost a year's salary. I won't tell you (how much). I'm uncomfortable letting people know what my income is.