The Line Between Morality and Timely Reporting

During times of tragedy, a sense of respect and integrity need to be upheld.


Gene Wang

Following the tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, among seven others, media outlets released false information to the public regarding the details of the crash.

Emma Hutchin, Photo Editor

When the story broke, it didn’t seem real. It was a tragedy so unforeseen that it shook the entire country. Mortality was put into perspective. Kobe and Gianna Bryant. John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli. Sarah and Payton Chester. Christina Mauser. Ara Zobayan. Nine people gone within seconds, yet media companies jumped on the story and pushed it out without blinking an eye. 

Following the crash, TMZ was the first media company to release information to the public. Just over an hour after police were notified, the story was already trending. Los Angeles County Sherriff Alex Villanueva fired back at TMZ for releasing information before family members had heard the tragic news, according to the Cable News Network. 

Although a reporter’s main duty is to be a resource for the public and get the story out there, a sense of respect needs to be upheld. As family members of the victims discovered their loved ones passing through media tabloids, this respect has appeared to be nonexistent. Media is all-encompassing, it exposes grief, trauma and helplessness, according to the United States Department of Federal Affairs.

However, during 9/11, it was reported that adults watched over eight hours of television in relation to the attacks, according to the National Center for PTSD. A zombie-like infatuation with the screen, as much as people wanted to look away, they couldn’t. News acts as a guide when experiencing a traumatic event. 

This brings to light the difficult question of how soon is too soon. The line has blurred between timely reporting, morality and factuality. 

The right thing to do is wait. Give people time to do their jobs, get the complete story. Following Bryant’s death, numerous media outlets released stories with false information, attempting to be the first company to release the painful news. Some claimed every member of the Bryant family perished. Others said there were only three victims. Nine people perished in the horrific accident. Fake statements and misinformation were released by news sources on behalf of the Bryant family, according to BET Networks. 

The fact of the matter is, no matter who the victim or media company, grief needs to be taken into account. Before pushing out a story full of fake information and made-up quotes, reporters must remember the people behind their stories. 

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on