Ethics are very important in journalism. People often talk about how journalism is meant to report facts and limit bias in their writing. This is true, but there are other aspects of journalism where the journalists must use ethics as well. In January of 2020 basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash. This was very sad news that became a huge story on social media. News outlets began reporting on the death of Kobe and his daughter immediately. In fact, Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, originally found out about her husbands passing on social media. Ms. Bryant is now suing the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for negligence and invasion of privacy because she alleges they shared photos of the scene including photos of her deceased family members bodies with the news. These photos allowed the news outlets to confirm that Kobe and his daughter had in fact died and begin getting the news out to the public immediately, before the authorities even had time to notify his wife. I think this is extremely unethical. If I had to put myself into Vanessa Bryant’s shoes I would be extremely saddened and traumatized by this. Yes, it is a news outlets job to report on current events, but there should be respect for the families and loved ones of people involved in accidents and traumatizing circumstances like this one. The news outlets should have an obligation to the families just as equally as they have to the public. The public should not be finding out about the death of someone before their own family does. This reminds me of the ethics of care because journalists should think more about how their actions will effect others, not just about being the first to break a story.
About this Blog"Ethics in the News" provides a forum for students to compare and comment on media ethics reporting from various news sources. It seeks to critically evaluate events and their coverage as it explores ethical issues and concepts.