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Reporting on George Floyd’s Murder and aftermath in Minneapolis (ep. 270)

John O’Leary welcomes CBS Minneapolis’ Mike Max to the Live Inspired Podcast to share about capturing the grieving Minneapolis community’s experience after George Floyd’s murder.

Recently, a dear friend shared the work of journalist Mike Max and his coverage of George Floyd’s murder and the protests, destruction and marches in Minneapolis in the following days. 

Mike had covered the sports beat for 34 years at the CBS Minneapolis station and chose to use his longstanding relationship with the community to work to calm the hostile environment, spark meaningful conversations and capture the real-time experiences of the grieving community. 

Today, Mike shares his firsthand experience and what it was like to witness demonstrators’ and police officers’ respect for each other. Our conversation will remove the fog we often feel from politicized reporting and remind us of the good, humanity and of the possibility of us all coming together.  

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  • Growing up in a small Minnesota town, Mike credits his positive role models in building his fundamental foundation.
  • Be thankful for what you did get to do.  As a former college athlete, Mike sees sports as a great meritocracy.
  • In his 34 years in media, Mike insatiable appetite for his work + the process of sharing stories of others.
  • Although Minneapolis had a history of racial tension and Mike expected turmoil after viewing George Floyd’s murder, he didn’t anticipate it growing into a global movement for social change.
  • From covering area high school + professional sports for many years, Mike leaned into his diverse network, especially his Black friends to learn and gain a critical perspective.
  • In reporting what the demonstrators’ perspective and what they were hoping to accomplish through their demonstrations, Mike – a white man – began to understand the impact police brutality had had on the Black community in Minneapolis. 
  • Mike observed humanity and respect as demonstrators and officers began to understand each other after they spent long hours and days together
  • “He’s got a family. He’s got friends. I’ve got a family. I’ve got friends. We just want to go home to the people we love.” A quote from one of the demonstrators, sharing what it was like to talk with one of the officers at a demonstration.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? I cared more about people + trusted much more.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? My cellphone and the pictures of my family + friends.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Any President or Johnny Carson.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Hard work always pays off.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Don’t get so uptight about things that don’t matter.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He gave it his best shot.


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3 replies on “Reporting on George Floyd’s Murder and aftermath in Minneapolis (ep. 270)”


Since George Floyd’s murder, I’ve observed two ways people refer to what happened afterward. One is to refer to it as riots. Another is to refer to it as protests or demonstrations. Mike Max carefully avoided the use of the word riots in his remarks about what he witnessed. In fact, he said the far majority of the people had good intentions and legitimate concerns. To use the word riots, implies otherwise. I have tremendous respect for you and what you do. But, the way you titled episode 270, REPORTING ON THE RIOTS AFTER GEORGE FLOYD’S MURDER, is immensely disappointing.

Diane, thank you for taking the time to share. It’s so important that we all slow down and do the important work of communicating (always and especially) during this season. We agree with you. Thank you for calling it out. We are working hard to share timely, inspirational content and this was an oversight on our part. Again, thanks for being here and for being part of the Live Inspired community. J

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