'Digital Dirt': 8 Things You Didn't Know About TMZ

A new TMZ exposé by the New Yorker reveals the deepest darkest secrets surrounding the celebrity gossip website.

The New Yorker published its highly anticipated exposé into TMZ on Monday, and the investigative report gives the world an inside look at how the gossip website operates. The lengthy piece, titled The Digital Dirt has been in the works for more than a year from writer Nicholas Schmidle. Schmidle, whose story "Getting Bin Laden" was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2013, looked into how the Warner Bros. owned celebrity news site and its founder Harvey Levin manage to get photos, videos and sources that help them get the latest celebrity gossip. In the story, Schmidle explains how much TMZ pays to acquire stories, such as the infamous Ray Rice videos, how the website first came about, and who in Hollywood supports and hates TMZ. Ultimately comes down to this quote: "Everybody rats everybody else out," a former TMZ employee tells Schmidle. "That’s the beauty of TMZ." Here are 10 things you should know.
  1. TMZ paid more than $100,000 for the Ray Rice Videos.
  2. TMZ paid $5,000 for that surveillance footage of Solange Knowles attacking Jay Z in an elevator.
  3. You can get paid at least $50 if you have a good story to sell to TMZ.
  4. TMZ owned a video of Justin Bieber saying the N-word and apparently "ransomed" the singer to get Bieber and his team to work with them and give them stories. This led to "numerous flattering Bieber-related exclusives appearing on the site,"
  5. TMZ was almost called Buzz Feed
  6. Kevin Blatt is the biggest source for TMZ earning more than $30,000 from TMZ. Blatt tells Schmidle, "These are the people who call me with stuff."
  7. "Some stars calls ahead with their location and then act surprised when the tour bus drives by," writes Schmidle in his report.
  8. Publicists tip off TMZ cameramen. "I can’t tell you how many times we got calls from Britney Spears, or her people, who called to say, 'She’s going to get a tan.'"

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