NBR gets the good oil on Truth


The last front page – Truth June 13, 2013

Georgina Bond has a very good article at NBR on the demise of Truth.

Truth rejuvenation became too hard – Horton [Republished with permission]

Plans to rejuvenate the Truth newspaper became too hard, causing its publisher to call time on the struggling tabloid yesterday.

Horton Media chief executive Matthew Horton told NBR ONLINE work had been afoot to restructure the weekly paper over the past six months.

Initiatives included a deal with Countdown to post the paper’s presence in its supermarkets and selling off one of its websites.

Reformatting plans were also in the pipeline to do away with some of the adult content and related advertising to make Truth more of a “standard newspaper”, Mr Horton says.

“But at the end of the day all these deals took too long and were too hard.”

Mr Horton, who owns a 50% stake in Truth, says the newspaper had continued to lose ground with advertisers and readers over the last few years.

“It had taken a very seedy turn over the last five years and I think that probably cost the paper a lot of sales.  

“I always felt the paper needed much more political leaning to it. It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to muster the resources required to make that happen.”

Management changes earlier this year, when original owners handed over the reins to the Crow brothers David and Steve, had been disruptive.

“I guess a combination of all those factors, while trying to get back on track and settling in a new editor, really left the paper in a difficult position.

What Mr Horton describes as “chat room vilification” of Truth editor and Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater and the paper’s general manager Russell Beaumont – laying blame for the closure at their feet – was “totally unfair”.

A lot of energy

“Cam brought a lot of energy to the business and if we’d found them earlier in the piece things might have been different. They are good guys who probably represented the direction the paper should have taken a lot earlier.

“Cam was certainly under an enormous amount of pressure to put out a paper every week.”

Mr Horton says Truth’s debt was not insurmountable – “not in the hundreds of thousands” and not the fatal blow.

“It was more our assessment of what we would have had to put into the paper to resuscitate it, than what it had accumulated that was behind the decision to close.”

Neither Horton Media or Truth co-owner Dermott Malley wanted to put in new risk capital, he says.

“It could easily have swallowed another half a million dollars in order to beef up editorial resources.

“Frankly, given the state of the newspaper industry, you’d have to wonder who would sink that into a small paper like Truth.”

He acknowledged Truth’s closure is a sad day for the newspaper industry – the end of an era for a 126-year-old title and New Zealand icon which, in its early days, was the country’s most colourful and leading tabloid.

“But, frankly, in the context of other closures in other industries over the years, timber plants and paper plants, it’s a very minor event.

“Obviously, we’re sad and wish for a different outcome.”

Full article at NBR

Additional NBR reporting on Truth


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  • Shoreboy57

    Tough Cam. Other newspapers I would have been happy to see go first.

  • Guest

    ““It had taken a very seedy turn over the last five years and I think that probably cost the paper a lot of sales.

    “I always felt the paper needed much more political leaning to it. It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to muster the resources required to make that happen.”

    Sums it up really. Like I said a little more crudely earlier – most people don’t want to be serious (news/politics/opinion) & look at or for porn. It’s kind of like having wine with breakfast – if you do then it means you have problems.

    So what next – make this a paid blog? I am sure that is the way of the future & why not – if people were prepared to by newspapers then why not pay a small fee for blogs? At least there is no word restrictions on the comments haha!

  • PlanetOrphan

    I’m not sure why people think it’s demise was on the cards.

    It’s content content content …

    The listener bombed, but cleo, new idea, AutoTrader ???
    There’s a bigger list of still succesfull magazines out there.

    It’s just Newspapers that are having a hard time because the internet is “Fresher News/Content”

    The Truth was well on it’s way to becoming a “niche” market promotional mag/paper, and like I said last night they should be looking at DVD / Blueray distribution, games, xbox, playstation, home movies of all kinds, the list is endless.

    Try and turn it back into a Newspaper makes it a Darwin Award contender IMO.

    • MikeMan

      You mean Auto Trader where 90+% of the content has moved online and what used to be a 400 page publication that sold well is now a freebie of 20-30 pages with no editorial content that I pickup and look at when I am waiting for Fish and Chips.

      The Auto Trader?

      • PlanetOrphan

        The online version counts, it’s still got a readership.
        They just have to get over the “Printed Publication” mindset ….

  • All_on_Red

    Oh well the Herald will be for sale in a few years. Cam can become editor of that

    • Dave

      At $1 a copy its about $5 more than its worth. Truth is, no one in their right mind would but the Horrid for their newspapers/printing, its their websites that are valuable, but again, they need to sort their strategy / content and target audience out first, they are quickly becoming completely irrelevant to their readers.

  • john Fraser

    A rightwing slant and sex dont mix, time to move on another fucked up news source

  • This_comment_was_deleted

    Like that came as a surprise.

    And so dies a trashy, mendacious and sleazy paper.

    It makes sense really. If your going to make a hospital pass who better to than
    the business equivalent of Dr Kevorkian?

    Since we’re seeking redemptive vindication from within the articles of another
    paper, here’s another from the very same source.


    Its all a distraction deploy by H…oops, almost said it Cam….I mean to say,
    Comrade Minister Brownlee.

    I’ve always wondered why there are so few mentions of Christchurch’s
    reconstruction woes. Surely it can’t simply be due to political affiliations.

    Maybe it was covered extensively in the antithetically named, Truth.

    Now that would be a shock.

    P.s. You should get that serious case of Felis-mustela-phobia seen to by the way.

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  • Red

    That’s a pity to see such an icon, gone. I worked in Newspaper for a while… got the hell out while I had some sanity left… I’ve suggested to former colleagues, they should watch this from TED talks as times have become tougher and they’ve been scrambling for answers . A designer who’s saved dying titles worldwide……. not one of them has made the effort to even look at it…. What does that say…. Bunnies in the headlights http://www.ted.com/talks/jacek_utko_asks_can_design_save_the_newspaper.html

  • A spoof headline from The Onion says it all: ‘Majority Of Newspapers Now Purchased By Kidnappers To Prove Date’.