Can a center for light gossip ever turn into a hard-hitting news source? When you consider that a few of the most significant and talked-about stories of 2014 were delivered by this tabloid website/TV program, the answer must be … yes.


TMZ is known as a celebrity news website and television show by many, tracking the Kanye Wests of Hollywood.

TMZ’s managing editor is Harvey Levin, a lawyer and journalist with previous experience in television law.

His experience in media law helps them to understand how to avoid defamation suits and they tend to keep their news light and airy.

Until recently, that is.

Most have seen TMZ as a center for laughter and gossip but in more recent times I have viewed it as pretty hard-hitting.

Let’s take a look at three separate cases, all important and all brought to light because of TMZ alone.

  1. Donald Sterling Audio Leaked
  2. Ray Rice Footage Leaked
  3. Stephen Collins Audio Leaked

All of these stories were not for laughter, these were hard-hitting news events and all were leaked to TMZ, who then told it to the public loudly.

In my opinion it changes the news game for them.

The case of Donald Sterling brings race to the table.

TMZ leaked audio of the then-Clippers NBA basketball team owner telling his girlfriend, who is African American and Hispanic, that he does not want her bringing black people to his games.

Here is the kicker, people, he owns a basketball team that is predominantly made up of those so-called black people he does not want at his games.

TMZ exposing Sterling for being a racist was not only hard hitting but necessary for the prosperity of the team.

In the case of Ray Rice, domestic violence is brought to light.

Now this, in my opinion, was the story that put TMZ on the legitimacy radar forever.

NFL Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice had reportedly hit his wife in a hotel elevator earlier in the year.

This allegation came with a two-game suspension and a slap on the wrist by the NFL.

That was until TMZ got ahold of footage from inside the elevator showing Rice’s now-wife, Janay Palmer, being knocked so hard in the side of the head that she smashes her head on the rail and was knocked out cold.

After the footage was exposed, Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

But what if the footage never came out?

Would Rice still be parading around, making millions, in his uniform of glory as a wife beater?

The truth is, sadly, yes, most likely he would be.

The last and most recent case is actor Stephen Collins, star of “7th Heaven,” being exposed as a child molester by audio released by TMZ.

The audio has Collins admitting to exposing himself to a 13-year-old female where he also lists her name and address.

The disturbing thing about this discovery of Collins’ secret is that for 11 years on television he portrayed a father of seven who was a protestant minister in a small town.

This audio has opened up multiple investigations into Collins’ life.

All networks have cut ties with Collins and he has resigned from his position on the Screen Actors Guild Board.

For a third time TMZ has brought to light a predator.

So again I must ask, are they really just another celebrity gossip outlet or has TMZ gained some real news credibility?


By Molly Carver

Molly Carver is Social Media Editor for MBU Timeline and news anchor for MBU Timeline-Broadcast. She is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Journalism. After graduation, Carver plans to find work with a boutique public relations agency where she can utilize her passions for writing and strategic planning.