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How Reuters was first with coverage of fire at Nantes cathedral in France

French firefighters battle a blaze at the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul in Nantes, France, July 18, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Last week, a fire swept through a centuries-old cathedral in Nantes, France. Reuters photojournalist Stéphane Mahé, who is based in Nantes, was ahead of the competition with visuals of the devastation.

Alerted to the fire by the news desk in Paris, Mahé rushed to the scene and pushed out stills from his camera in the first minute, immediately followed by video.

“There’s increased competition these days,” says Stéphane. “Not only are you competing against other agencies, you’re also competing against the person in the street, who is shooting material and putting it straight up on social media.”

There was a huge spike in interest as the world’s media wondered if this was on the scale of the fire that partially destroyed Notre Dame in Paris, one of the defining visual stories of 2019. Hundreds of channels used Mahé’s coverage, which also drew praise from clients.

[Reuters PR blog post]

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