TMZ Gets Unfairly Blamed for Media Insensitivity

Maria Barragan, Reporter

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The news of Kobe Bryant’s death was broken in a tweet by tabloid news website TMZ with no further information about the source of the facts, only a single headline reading, “Kobe Bryant Dead, Dies in Helicopter Crash.”

According to CBS News, TMZ has been criticized by police for reporting the news before family of the victims had been notified.

I understand that Kobe Bryant was a public figure and that he was a hero to us all, but nevertheless his family deserved at least a little bit of privacy and compassion, which they didn’t get from the media.

In order to defend the role of reporters, TMZ was unfairly left to appear as the only bad guy of the whole situation.

I was hesitant and stunned. Hesitant to believe that this tabloid was telling the truth and stunned that the victims’ families were among the fans around the world finding out about the tragedy through that headline.

According to The New York Times, “whenever a big story breaks, news organizations have to gauge how fast is too fast. For reports on tragedies, journalists face the issue of whether or not to put their drive to be first above sensitivity toward  victims and members of the family… Some outlets were cautious, and told their readers why.”

Not only did I feel like I was trespassing on the Bryant family’s privacy, but it felt like I was stealing the last moments the family deserved to have with their lost loved ones.

California Lutheran University senior Kobe Bryant fan Antonio Welch said, “[Kobe Bryant] meant a lot to me …The media is wrong. And despite the fact that I  never knew him felt like I did and it kinda felt like a family member passing… I hope to have an impact like that… He inspired me to be a better person.”

I think it is unfair for TMZ to be blamed alone when in reality within seconds from their statement all the news media outlet were releasing the same amount of coverage citing what was already released by TMZ.