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How They Covered It The Death of Kobe Bryant

2022-09-21

Exploring the future of sports journalism from Northeastern Universitys School of Journalism

One of the most significant sports stories of the past few years was the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. The NBA Hall of Famers legacy stretched beyond the boundaries of the United States and into the most obscure corners of the world. He was considered by many to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, and his impact on not only the basketball community, but the sports community as a whole will never be forgotten.

Coverage of his and his daughter Giannas death in a tragic helicopter accident drew headlines around the world. Here are a few outlets that covered his death and how they chose to present the information.

The death of Bryant was one of the biggest stories for The Los Angeles Times over the last decade.The LA Times coverageof Bryants death didnt just get placed on one page it spanned several pages of the newspaper.

The headline on the newspapers front page reads, Kobe Bryant dies in crash in large letters. In slightly smaller letters under it, The LA Times sub-headline calls Bryant a Lakers legend, and also brings attention to the fact that his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in the crash.

On the left side of the front page, the newspaper says Bryant was a talent like no other. That might be an understatement to many in the basketball community, as the five-time world champion was, and still is, considered godly. In the center of the page, we see a large photo of Bryant celebrating, and, honestly, The LA Times probably couldnt have picked a better picture of the superstar. For someone considered a talent like no other, they put his image front and center to show just how special he was.

Underneath Bryants photo, the newspaper provides a quote from Lakers great Jerry West, who called Bryant a legend on the court. Pages on the inside of the issue show beautiful photos of Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Underneath those images, more quotes and testaments to Bryants impact on the game appear.

The LA Times took special care covering Bryants death, after all he was part of their community. They covered his death with a Lakers and Los Angeles lens. His hometown newspaper, however, took a different approach.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia, so it only makes sense to look at the coverage of his death from his hometown.The Philadelphia Inquirertook a similar approach to covering Bryants death as The LA Times. However, there are some big differences.

On the front page, The Inquirer has the headline, The Death of a Legend printed in bold. Underneath the headline, the newspaper has three separate categories listed in smaller, bold letters: Helicopter crash, NBA great, Expanded coverage.

The Helicopter crash category tells the reader that Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed in the accident. The NBA great category reads, From Lower Merion to Los Angeles, fans in mourning, emphasizing the fact that Bryants legacy stretched well beyond the Staples Centers walls. The Expanded coverage category directs readers to a full eight pages on Bryants life and legacy, similar to how The Los Angeles Times gave its readers an extra section of coverage.

Underneath the headline and extra tidbits, readers see a massive photo of Bryant dunking on a basketball hoop from his days at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. We then see another headline that reads, His celebrity went beyond basketball. The Inquirer also wrote a story about the impact of Bryants death on the Philadelphia community, with the headline reading, Local fans: We lost one of our own.

The way the Inquirer covered Bryants death might actually be just as strong as The LA Times. The Inquirer gives us a fresh perspective on his life and legacy through a Philadelphia lens. While he is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, the Inquirer reminds us that he had strong roots in Philadelphia that helped shape his life and career.

When I said Bryants influence spanned the entire globe, I meant it. When Bryant was 6 years old, his father retired from the NBA and moved his family to Italy to continue playing professional basketball. Bryant spent seven years of his life in Italy, from ages 6 to 13, and even learned to speak fluent Italian.

As you can imagine, Bryants death was covered heavily in Italy. The superstar played for several youth basketball teams in the country and purchased a stake in EuroLeague hoops team Olimpia Milano.

While he was a popular figure in Italy, he didnt receive the same newspaper treatment he did in the United States following his death.Gazzetta Di Reggio, which is published in Reggio Emilia, Italy, the town where Bryant spent part of his life, only gave his death a small portion of the front page.

The left-hand corner of the front page shows a picture of Bryant with the headline, Incidente in elicottero, morto Kobe Bryant. In English, that translates to, Helicopter crash, Kobe Bryant dead. While it gets the point across, he wasnt praised as a legend on the front page like he was in many U.S.-based newspapers.

While Gazzetta Di Reggio only gave Bryant a small portion of its front page, La Nacion, an Argentinian newspaper, gave Bryant a much larger portion on its front page. The Buenos Aires-based newspapers headline read, El trgico fin de Kobe Bryant, which translates to The tragic end of Kobe Bryant.

La Nacion showed a photo of Lakers fans paying tribute to Bryant and also posted a small black and white photo of him in the corner underneath it. In addition to the photos, the newspaper also mentions that Manu Ginobili, a native of Argentina who won four NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, was devastated by Bryants death.

Ginobili is the most successful NBA player to come out of Argentina, so its no surprise the newspaper included his reaction to Bryants death. By including Ginobilis reaction, the newspaper shows its readers how devastating the death of Bryant was to everyone in the NBA community and beyond.

How They Covered It,Kobe Bryant,Los Angeles Times,Media,NBA,Philadelphia Inquirer,Print Media

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