How media focuses on Kobe Bryant’s death

Maureen DeGregorio, Social Media Manager

When I read the news breakingKobe Bryant’s death alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, I was sad. Who hasn’t heard of Kobe growing up, and who wouldn’t be upset hearing about this tragedy? However, as the communication and media strategies developed, the focus never deterred from Kobe and Gianna.

The seven other victims included Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli; her father, John Altobelli, the baseball coach at Orange Coast College; her mother, Keri Altobelli; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at the nearby Harbor Day School Gianna attended; Payton Chester, a middle-school student; her mother, Sarah Chester; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.

These nine victims were all interrelated, and yet Kobe and Gianna are receiving the most attention. I keep seeing posts about Kobe and his daughter on social media. There has also been media coverage for the other victims. CNN, for example, wrote an article about Alyssa Altobelli’s vigil mostly composed of friends and classmates, discussing how they’ve been mourning their former classmate. The article is sad to read, she was an eighth grader who was ready to pursue her big plans of attending the University of Oregon in a few years. Despite how powerful these articles may be, they are not being as heavily publicized as the one’s regarding Kobe and his daughter.

Widow Vanessa Bryant shared a post on Instagram for the details of the memorial, having “Kobe & Gianna Bryant” written underneath “A Celebration of Life.” It just seems as if the memorial is being dedicated to celebrating these two lives only instead of all nine victims.

Are we reducing these individuals to a mere number? Meanwhile we are helplessly drawn to the athletic celebrity because we, as a society, viewed him to be invincible on the court. Losing Kobe as an icon harshly reminded all of us that we, as humans, are not invincible. While the other seven victims sadden us, they are also just part of life and death. Since we don’t want to acknowledge death, we try to ignore it, and we ultimately neglect the lost lives.

Although the headlines and Kobe Bryant’s name are what attracts readers and earns profit, there is a way to balance the media coverage and include the other victims in the articles being published. I would advise Vanessa Bryant to work with the other families for the memorial and other related events in the future to show unity and humility. This tragedy affected each of these families and loved ones equally.

We mourn Kobe Bryant as a celebrity and Gianna as his daughter who inherited his athletic skills, but we fail to mourn the other seven lives who were taken from us too soon. Their lives were just as important even if we don’t consider their successes to be the same as Kobe’s and Gianna’s.