Saturday, March 6, 2010

The TMZ effect

Easily cast aside as a celebrity gossip forum, is becoming an increasingly legitimate source for news, especially offbeat sports stories. Whether it be photos of Steve McNair's lover to snapshots of Tiger Woods' smashed Escalade windows, TMZ is finding relevant information and putting it on the Web.

And now they broke a monster story. The website was the first to report that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Georgia bar. Roethlisberger has not been charged with any crimes, but this is still newsworthy because police are investigating. And once TMZ pounced on the story Friday afternoon, it prompted every major news organization in Pittsburgh to stumble around for information on the investigation.

How do they do it?

Some cast them off as a joke, but it's clear they have informants in unusual places. Now, a lot of the celebrity gossip photos they publish are stupid. But TMZ might soon become the most trusted name in news if they continue breaking stories in lieu of the mainstream media.


  1. The old way of gathering and delivering the news isn't working so much so well these days. I first heard about the story from a pop radio disc jockey on Twitter long before anyone from the traditional media picked up on the story.

  2. They probably read it on, right? And this seems to be a classic case of citizen journalism. If you know something, send a photo to TMZ and they'll start hunting for info.

  3. People also like to mock the "National Enquirer," but the "Enquirer" has broken more than a handful of big-time news stories. The subjects of those stories often complain about "tabloid journalism," that is, until the tabloid is proven correct.

  4. These gossip magazines/websites hurt their legitimate news stories by constantly publishing crap. There are some really good stories they break, but they undermine themselves by the Batboy! headlines.