“Katrina doesn’t even touch this.”

[ this post has updates where noted. ]

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey can’t yet be quantified in dollars, but calculating the heroic work of journalists covering the storm is easy.

When journalists normally step in front of their stories it can sometimes become an embarrassment. Harvey is not a normal catastrophe—for anyone. All across Texas, where the Category 4 storm flooded neighborhoods and devastated cities on the coast and inland, stores of heroic rescues and personal bravery abounded.

As someone who often covers how the media presents certain stories, I was blown away by the empathy and compassion showed by some of these reporters. Trust me, these pieces will win awards.

Here’s just a sample:

Nick Valencia / CNN (with CNN sound engineer Marc Halualani)

“There’s a lot of reasons that we get up in the morning to do our jobs. Our crew here felt that this was one of those.” Nick Valencia and soundman Marc Halualani worked to connect a father and son split apart by the storm.

Brandi Smith / KHOU Reporter in Houston

Brandi showed remarkable poise in seeing someone in dire need of assistance and finding a rescue truck passing by—all the while reporting on her story, mic in hand.

Ed Lavandera / CNN

This rescue is perhaps the most subtle but no less heroic. CNN reporter Ed Lavandera happened upon a family in distress—and it turned out that one of the elderly people had Alzheimer’s. Ed was outwardly empathetic toward the woman, not wanting to put them on national TV without their consent. Watch the video above.

Journalists often rely upon their sixth sense to bring stories to light. Although they might not want to take credit for their roles in helping people out of humility, make sure to send thanks and love their way. In some cases they put their microphones down to get people help and make a difference, showing the best of what journalists are.

From a scene of heartbreak, it’s pretty cool to see empathy in action. 🔵

Writer’s note: did I miss a poignant moment? Yell at me on twitter or e-mail me directly and I’ll add it here with an update. 

UPDATE: I caught Clara Jeffery’s tweet on this same subject and thought it was a good idea to include it. If you click on the tweet link it’ll take you to a number of other stories of bravery from journalists.

UPDATE 2: this tweet says it all about what local reporters went through to get the story. 


Will Pollocksideways is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist focusing on pop-culture, politics, journalism & media, retail, real estate, travel, politics, and human interest. 

He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.

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