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APTN Producer, Cameraman Dies at 34

January 12, 1999

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) _ Myles Tierney, a Kenya-based producer for Associated Press Television News, was remembered as a resourceful journalist committed to war coverage and a man ``who lived life like it was the 100-yard dash.″

Tierney, 34, died Sunday when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle at a checkpoint in this West African nation, torn by civil unrest between rebels and the government.

``We are in mourning today,″ said Louis D. Boccardi, president of The Associated Press. He called Tierney ``a brave and adventurous man.″

Ian Stewart, 32, West Africa chief of bureau, who was also in the car, was wounded in the head in the attack and was airlifted to London, where he was in stable condition Monday night. AP photographer David Guttenfelder, 29, was injured by flying glass.

``We are in awe of the sacrifices they and others make so that we can carry out our mission,″ Boccardi told AP staffers Monday.

And Nigel Baker, head of news at Associated Press Television News, said: ``The death of Myles Tierney has robbed international television of one of its brightest young stars. He was a consummate professional, highly talented and highly resourceful.″

The State Department expressed deepest condolences Monday to Tierney’s family. In Washington, spokesman James P. Rubin told reporters that Tierney’s death ``points up the extraordinary risks that people in your profession go to report the news from around the world.″

Though he was a cameraman, Tierney’s byline appeared on a range of stories from Africa. He joined AP’s TV arm in 1996, organizing coverage of a military coup in Burundi. He set up the agency’s first TV bureau in New York before returning to Africa in 1997.

``Myles lived his life like it was the 100-yard dash,″ Guttenfelder said. ``He knew everyone everywhere we went, even in Sierra Leone. He’d pull into the hotel and guys would come from everywhere to hug him. He was the man of the people.″

Tierney’s mother, Hanne, who went to visit him in Nairobi when he fell ill with malaria, said he had begun research on a documentary about Rwandan children imprisoned on genocide charges.

``Africa was the opportunity in his life to realize himself,″ she said Monday. ``And he did. This was where all of his talents really came to the fore.″

In January 1997, Tierney returned to Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. For the next two years he chronicled the turmoil across east and west Africa. He was part of an AP team that for three months reported exclusively on the advance of then rebel leader Laurent Kabila in eastern Zaire, now Congo.

During the assignment, he pioneered use of new technology which allowed video to be dispatched over a conventional satellite telephone.

He also had covered conflicts in Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea and Somalia.

Tierney is survived by his mother and a sister, Loren, both of New York City. The family planned a private funeral; the AP was arranging a memorial service.

The AP has withdrawn all foreign journalists from Sierra Leone for now.

Tierney is the 24th AP journalist to die in the line of duty in the organization’s 150-year history.

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