Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

TMZ's Harvey Levin Speaks About Michael Jackson and More!

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On the spur of the moment yesterday–as Los Angeles was gridlocked by the memorial service for pop legend Michael Jackson–BoomTown decided to pay a quick visit to Harvey Levin, who runs TMZ.

Located on Sunset Boulevard–natch!–TMZ is the celebrity news Web site that actually broke the news of Jackson’s death, before any other media outlet.

And it has pretty much led the coverage as the sad story has unfolded–and continues to.

In fact, TMZ–which stands for the “30-mile zone” of Hollywood and also has a television show–is one of the great content sites on the Internet.

It uses a nice blend of text, video, audio and a laser focus on intense reporting on its topic to yield a whole new kind of media that is Web-born and -bred.

As I always note: Levin covers the tribulations of celebrities, like Britney Spears, as if they were the Iraq war.

TMZ, which will soon undergo a refresh of its design, is owned by Time Warner (TWX). It was launched in 2005 jointly by its Telepictures and AOL units.

Here’s a video interview I did with Levin about hubbub around Jackson yesterday and other topics, such as paying for tips and the convergence of online and offline (and, below it, is also a video tour of TMZ I did in late 2007, just after it launched its television show):


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik