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It was only two years ago that many of us sat glued to our computers and televisions for hours waiting for news about singer Michael Jackson after word hit that he was suffering cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, TMZ.com was already running stories with the “Michael Jackson R.I.P. 1958-2009″ banner as we refused to believe he had passed until a ‘legit’ outlet like CNN or ABC told us so. That scoop was a sign of things to come for the brand which had also been the first to reveal Mel Gibson’s racist tirade following his DUI arrest in 2006.This week, TMZ founder Harvey Levin had the opportunity to address the National Press Club, which is not the sort of privilege typically befitting someone who is essentially a celebrity blogger. And he had a strong message: newspapers and magazines should leave print altogether if they wish to survive, for the internet takeover is only going to go deeper, get stronger. Hmm…As the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi points out, its a bit out of the box to see Levin ” go all media visionary” while addressing the press, considering that his brand was built off of the backs of the Kardashians, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. However, Levin is one of the most successful entertainment news entrepreneurs to emerge from the internet. The New York Times lists TMZ.com as the 10th most cited source by other news orgs, besting the Los Angeles Times, ABC News and the Financial Times. Something is working in the house Levin built…or people have just gotten a lot less ‘serious’ when it comes to the sort of news they prioritize. Or, most likely, a combination of both.

Levin also had advise for television news outlets, suggesting TMZ TV’s conversational and humorous approach to reporting would breath new life to the long-standing newscast format.

Despite the fact that 45 million people still purchase print papers each day and Americans purchased 325 million magazines last year, the 61-year-old insists that print is dead. “What is the magic of holding a piece of paper in the air when you read?” he asked. “You [in the news media] think you have to preserve this? Why?” Young people aren’t interested in the traditional media,” said Levin. “It doesn’t speak to them.” He told the press corps that as television and internet continue to merge “This is a revolution. And also, an opportunity.”


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  • entro

    The only thing TMZ has over other media outlets right now is that it seems they have sources EVERYWHERE. They have been able to get many stories 1st.
    But other than that they seem to Dumb down the news, just as local news stations.
    International news,NPR, and many internet sites seem to give you a more in depth
    perspective.

  • whilome

    Ever notice how Harvey Levin’s outlet treats women in the news? They always report that Vivid entertainment is offering such-and-so a porn contract. Whether it is some down and out celebrity or Amanda Knox, hours after her release from prison.

    They constantly sexualize female public figures by “reporting’ that some pornographer would pay top dollar for their appearance, leading otherwise reputable women to have to officially deny wanting to appear in porn.

    Last week, TMZ took the cake when they “reported” that the Lingerie Football League was “recruiting Paris Jackson.” Sexualizing a 13 year old?! There was absolutely no reason to repeat that bs. That’s like “reporting” that a bunch of men are doing a “jailbait countdown” for Willow Smith to start doing porn. Who would fix their hands to type that into a story? And for what? A couple of clicks? Too through. I won’t click on their site even they report Jesus came back on a spaceship with whatever was in Al Capone’s vault. Get like them? Never.

  • sweetpisces

    “You [in the news media] think you have to preserve this? Why?” Young people aren’t interested in the traditional media,” THA HELL OUTTA HERE WITH THAT. This is similar to cds for me, i like the fact that people take the time to put something in print and that takes hard work as well. To me, print is more valuable, and anybody can put something on the internet these days. TMZ is not that substantial..it’s built on scum.