Celebrity gossip news site TMZ is known for breaking scoops by often being the first to obtain court documents — whether it’s an A-list divorce or celebrity arrest.
But it’s supposedly not because the site pays for them, but because “a group of staffers scan every docket that passes through the court system” in Los Angeles.
BuzzFeed‘s Anne Helen Petersen recently profiled TMZ at length, and while the site refused to comment for the story, she talked to “nearly two dozen former TMZ employees” who explained the process at the Los Angeles courthouse.
Petersen writes: “It’s through these staffers’ endless labour that TMZ is able to beat the rest of the industry to report who’s filed a restraining order, a name change, for divorce, or a suit against a star. This information isn’t hidden, and it’s not exclusive to TMZ — but the willingness to bankroll that labour ensures the branding status of ‘first.'”
Since its debut in 2005, TMZ has used tactics like these to break major stories such as Mel Gibson’s racist rant after being arrested. TMZ is also responsible for breaking the Tiger Woods cheating scandal and releasing the Jay Z and Solange elevator fight video.
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