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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  • http://twitter.com/BlasianBytch N’jaila Rhee

    As a journalist this disgusts me.

  • The Comment

    When my future son does something spectacular that is deserving of a news story…I want to frame the news article above my mantle; not download it for friends and family.

    Sure, there are waay more options for news. I no longer have to depend on the networks to frame the story for me. Meaning I’m not confined to an Ivy League educated white male perspective anymore. A site called Newspaper Map allows me to read any online newspaper up and running from any country across the globe. Even YouTube is a great source for news now days. But I still like to pick up a paper from time to time.

    But….magazines…I have to hold. It is fashion that I have to observe on a glossy piece of paper. I would not subject my eyes to stare at a computer for that length of time unless I was editing it myself. Sometimes I have appointments in shady neighborhoods….I wouldn’t dare pull out my iPhone while waiting. But pull out a magazine and people think you are weird.

    Levin is right to some degree and I give him credit for changing the stiff, conservative–I’m the smartest person in the world cause I’m reading a teleprompter’ nature of newscast but print media is not dead by any means.

  • http://commentarybyval.blogspot.com/ Val

    TMZ is one of the most racist shows on television. I shudder to think that anyone in the mainstream media would listen to a goofball like Harvey Levin.

    Newspapers aren’t failing because of lack of interest by the public. Papers are failing because they already think they can’t compete with online media. Newspaper people have been predicting their own demise for a long time now.

    If newspapers covered their city, in depth every day, no online site would be able to compete. When papers get lazy and wire stories make up the majority of what they print then why would readers go to them for something already online?

    Go local! Cover your city! That’s what will save print media.

  • African Mami

    Print is NOT dead! I still read my newspapers. Blogging is not the new journalism! I RESPECT journalism and as such, could not even dare take him seriously. TMZ is all white celebrity news….I care because?! Miss me with that grandpa!

  • Mimi

    I can only agree with Levin to a certain extent. He’s talking about how young people don’t want to hold a newspaper, but what about people who aren’t young? My parents would NEVER read their newspaper online and I don’t know of too many baby-boomers or senior citizens who would read their paper online either.

    I also have to agree with The Comment. When it comes to my magazines, and I subscribe to about 15, I need to hold them in my hands. I love the beautiful professional photos and yes, I know I could get that online as well, but there’s just something about holding it in my hands that makes me savor the experience more. Same for books. I’m SO on the fence about buying a Kindle because I just love holding the book in my hands and the anticipation of turning the page. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to eventually buy one, but for now, give me my books and magazines!

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