TMZ and the unethical report

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After the death of Kobe Bryant, TMZ did not handle the news respectfully. Wikipedia Commons

Reflective of the issues in tabloid journalism

The passing of Kobe Bryant has taken the world by shock, from memorials to tributes, to dedications and remembrance; fans around the world continue to pour out their support for number 24.

Now, it should be stated off the start that this piece isn’t to do with Kobe’s passing directly, but more so on the reporting around his passing and whether the news released was timely. For those who aren’t sure what I’m on about, I’m referring to a TMZ news release that has been met with controversial response.

To make a long story short, TMZ released the news of Kobe’s, as well as the other nine victims, passing ahead of when the actual release was set to come out (in regards to the LAPD’s schedule). All the victims that were affected in the unfortunate helicopter incident had been put on display by tabloid news, providing no real window for private grieving by the loved ones of said victims.

This incident raises a question when discussing the balance between ethical reporting and the need to release news. On the one hand, was it appropriate for TMZ to put that kind of information out there before the LAPD was ready to release it? Most people, including me, would say no.

There needs to be a timeframe for emotional stability. Presenting a topic so heavy and so out of the blue like TMZ did would more than likely add to the already ongoing trauma that those loved ones’ are dealing with. On the other hand, those loved ones are also more than likely looking for answers when it comes to what happened to those close to them that passed. It’s a very tricky path to traverse.

I think the main thing we as individuals need to look at is the type of reasoning that goes beyond that decision. I highly doubt, and I could be wrong here, that TMZ was releasing that sensitive information so that those affected by such a tragedy could have peace of mind. No, rather, I feel as though they released it because they viewed such information as something that would grab eyes.

It’s unfortunate to even think that an organization that would use such info as a way of gaining more followers, however this is the mindset of TMZ and the like. Instead of informing, there is the simply disgusting notion of getting more clicks.

This is, of course, my opinion. Whatever the reason may be, I certainly hope that it was made with the best of intentions. It’s hard to believe, though, that a place that helps enforce the idea that shoving a camera into celebrities faces for the latest scoop could have such a thing as a “best intention.”

The same goes for news centres like the National Enquirer and the Hollywood Reporter. At the end of the day the ability to ethically report on sensitive topics just seems lost.

Here’s hoping for more timely choices on the part of said organizations, but I’m not expecting much.

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