You’ve probably seen it — the CNN video of a mother hoarsely screaming into the camera, begging President Trump to do something about last week’s school shooting.
You’ve probably heard her — Lori Alhadeff saying, “I just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughter’s funeral, who’s 14.”
You probably didn’t notice Mike Galanos, who was standing off camera trying to think of a way to get his microphone back from Alhadeff.
Galanos is an anchor and reporter for HLN (Headline News) and was in Parkland, Florida covering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Galanos was just one of the hundreds of journalists flocking to Parkland following the shooting. He had already been to one memorial service when he arrived at an amphitheater for another memorial. At the amphitheater, before Galanos and his team had time to ask anyone for an on-camera interview, Alhadeff approached him.
“You need to interview me,” she told him. Then she repeated it — several times.
Galanos is a journalist, a storyteller, and he started the interview like hundreds of others — he introduced his guest, then asked her a question.
And then, Alhadeff took Galanos’ mic and told her story. She screamed it. Millions heard her live and just under 900,000 people have heard her on YouTube.
Galanos stepped back, out of the shot, as other people stepped forward. A crowd began to gather. Alhadeff’s husband was crying behind Galanos’ cameraman and was consoled by their friends.
While Alhadeff screamed at President Trump to do something, Galanos tried to think of a soft landing — a way to soften her blow yet capture her grief. He tried to think of a way to get his microphone back without having to wrestle it out of Alhadeff’s hand.
Videos of the interview cut out before Galanos asked Alhadeff about her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa. Galanos asked about Alyssa, because that’s what the story is about. One of the 14 students shot to death at their high school.
On Thursday, the National Rifle Association’s national spokesperson said, “many in legacy media love mass shootings.”
Was Galanos in Parkland, Florida because he loves mass shootings? No.
He was there to tell the story. He was there to do the victims and their families justice — to do them that service, even if that means handing over his microphone.
“Tell the story,” Galanos says, “and the triumph of the human spirit.”
Journalists tell stories. They tell stories about 17 people shot to death at a Florida high school on a Wednesday afternoon. They tell stories of hundreds, even thousands of people mourning. They hand their microphone over to a grieving mother of a 14-year-old.
“Be a human first,” Galanos says. “That will serve you well.”
Journalists are people. And, they’re people inclined to look at other people as storytellers. Galanos saw a storyteller in Alhadeff.
Alhadeff’s didn’t tell her story. She screamed it.