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Sports

Volume 65 Number 1

TMZ Sports: Attacking the Stars or Necessary Honesty?

by Mary Dawson - 2014-10-09

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In this day and age, many people have negative connotations when it comes to journalism. People think that journalists are biased, lazy and worse.

There have been instances in sports journalism that give people more reason to be critical of sports journalists. Take the Manti Te’o story a couple of years ago. When Te’o first talked about his girlfriend during his senior year playing football at Notre Dame, no reporter had bothered to do enough investigative research to discover that “she” was an imaginary person.

People ridicule TMZ for being an unprofessional, not true journalism, news outlet. Throughout the years, TMZ has gained a reputation of harassing stars and reporting on unimportant, superficial stories. But this reputation seems to be changing a bit within these past two years, as TMZ has started to make a name for itself in the world of sports journalism.

This isn’t to say TMZ is the next ESPN; it’s far from that. But it is interesting to look at how TMZ is becoming known in the sports world.

Two big breaking news stories put TMZ on the sports map. It was TMZ that released the tapes of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments. Recently, TMZ was the news outlet that released the hotel elevator tape showing NFL running back Ray Rice beating up his then-fiancee, now his wife. So why is it TMZ is releasing these videos?

One reason has to do with what TMZ is all about. Through various stories, TMZ has made it evident that its reporters are more about putting negative spotlights on celebrities, not positive ones; its reporters’ definition of juicy, newsworthy stuff is more along the lines of something that would shine a negative spotlight.

The fact that this media outlet is all about bringing people down doesn’t explain how they are the ones releasing such important tapes and videos. How are they getting access to these videos that other media outlets don’t seem to be getting access to? It’s not that sources trust TMZ more than other outlets such as Fox Sports or ESPN. It appears that TIMZ is more persistent and more willing to bend the rules. For example, TMZ obtained the tape by convincing employees of the hotel to sell them the footage. Were other news sources not willing to go to those means to obtain information relating to the case? Did they just not try hard enough?

With this new trend of TMZ being the main source of getting to the bottom of so many of the mysteries surrounding famous athletes and sports figures, it will be interesting to see what TMZ reporters uncover next.


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people, journalism, sports, year, reporter, tmz, outlet, tape, new


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