The media should have more respect

Katelyn Eddington

This week the world stood still as NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven of their friends died in a helicopter crash. 

Bryant wore the numbers 8 and 24 during his 20-season run in the NBA, all 20 seasons playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Gianna was going to follow in her father’s footsteps by wanting to play at UCONN and then the WNBA. 

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, Vanessa, along with the three girls and sisters they leave behind. 

I especially can’t fathom finding out the way Vanessa did. 

For those who do not know, this breaks me as a sports fan, as an older sister to a 13-year-old and as a journalist. 

As an older sister, my heart breaks for Gianna’s oldest sister. 

As an older sister, I understand that it is our job to protect them, especially when you are close like them. 

However, as a journalist, this breaks me because Vanessa found out through TMZ.

TMZ broke a code, a code of ethics. 

It is a journalist’s job to wait until the family is notified of a death first. 

During its press conference about the helicopter accident, LAPD confirmed the victim’s families found out by TMZ. 

TMZ is not a reliable source for news unless it involves a celebrity dying. 

It makes me wonder two things: How did TMZ know about these deaths before anyone else? And why do they feel the urgency to report before the family knows?

TMZ should have waited; journalists should wait for the true facts from a press conference and/or release before publishing. 

TMZ and its reporters are what gives journalism and the media a bad reputation. 

However, just realize before you criticize all journalists or media outlets that one outlet’s mistake does not mean all journalists and news services are the same. 

So just because you have the story first does not mean you should publish it, and you need to fact check everything before broadcasting it.

For Kobe, Gianna and the other lives lost, TMZ reporters and journalists across the U.S. should have done better and waited to post the news until they found out first by the LAPD.

For that, I am sorry that media outlets and journalists, specifically TMZ, let not only all of your beautiful souls down, but your families as well. 

Katelyn Eddington is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].