Are you impressed that TMZ got "the scoop" on Michael Jackson's death?

All the major network newscasters, plus CNN, MSNBC, FoxNewsChannel, plus presumably all the others, commented on the fact that TMZ scooped the rest by an hour or so, forcing the rest to first report it as rumor and then frantically call their Hollywood contacts to confirm it. Wow, an hour.
And does this demonstrate that TMZ must be doing something better than the other?

No. It just means the first person to call in likes their show, and they aren’t inclined to double check anything. Sometimes tipsters call the local radio station first, or Larry King, just because the number is on their speed dial. So TMZ simply lucked out.

But boy are those other newscasters beating themselves up over it.

And of course I heard it first from the mainstream media, because there was no escape for days. But I never saw it on TMZ because that’s such a bubble-headed celebs-only channel it’s impossible to watch.

I happened to spend some time yesterday with a guy who works for the Los Angeles Fox news network. We discussed this topic and he said that TMZ uses pretty much the same journalistic standards as any major news source as far as verifying sources goes. The issue here is that they simply have better and more numerous sources than any other outlet when it comes to celebrity news.

My acquaintance was neither impressed nor surprised that it came down that way.

I think what it demonstrates is that TMZ is willing to pay more than anyone else. I think most news sources refuse to pay for a story, simply on principle. But my guess is that TMZ has a standing offer with all members of the emergency services (e.g., $10,000 for any really good news).

I think given where his death took place (LA) it’s predictable and likely that TMZ would get the scoop. Would they ever reveal who informed them? Because they reported his death around 4:15 CST last Thursday, but gave no details - no “an inside source,” “a close friend,” etc.

On the other hand, a lot of the traditional outlets had the wrong info - reporting he was in a coma. I believe CBS and CNN reported that.

In retrospect the story will be that TMZ got the scoop about an hour early, that won’t sound like a big deal. I can tell you though that going through that hour and seeing all the mainstream sources rush to confirm some info that a website got first was pretty amazing.

I don’t point fingers or say the mainstream media got it wrong or the TMZ has all the right ideas, I just think that this shows that the news world is big enough for both old and new media. Obviously TMZ has some credibility and accuracy in it’s information or we wouldn’t be talking about it, and obviously the mainstream sources wanted to make sure they had it absolutely right before the confirmed a major story.

So let’s just be happy that we have both, they may see each other as competitors, but i see them as two sides of the same coin that keep me as informed as possible.

Impressed? Not really - celebrity stuff is their specialty. But I was kind of amused that for a while all the major news sources were qualifying their reports with “So TMZ is saying MJ died…”

It reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns is running for Governor. You know, where he takes a bite of the three eyed fish and spits out a piece. All the reporters start taking photographs of the moment. “Ruined before it hit the ground.” Then they run off to write the story. “Here’s your headline, ‘Burns Can’t Swallow Own Story.’”

The Simpsons writers are keen observers of society, and it seems they predicted the day and age of 24 hour news cycles where stories develop not in days, hours, or even minutes, but mere seconds.

TMZ has a channel?

Exactly what I was thinking. I thought it was just a show on CW.

I don’t really care who gets the story first, so no, I’m not particularly impressed.

TMZ started out as a website at, then when the site got really popular, it got a TV show. So this was all happening online, it never hit network news until people started scooping TMZ’s site.

But it’s still not a channel, is it?

TMZ isn’t a CW thing, it airs on different channels in different cities

It’s on the local Fox channel of all things here.