NBR’s take on Whaleoil’s change in direction

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According to Mr Slater, his decision to take a break has been prompted by two things: “a couple of other projects that need some attention” and his “need [for] a rest after an intense couple of years.”

Of the latter, he says, “Having blogged constantly for 11 years this will actually be my first real break.

“So my first priority will be to get in some good hunting in what remains of the game bird season, and knock over a few deer, pigs and goats as well.”

As for what those projects entail, he declines to comment.

It is believed, however, that one of them is the long-in-gestation news site Freed, plans for which NBR first reported in July 2014.

At the time Mr Slater confirmed his intention to start a news site to “complement and run alongside Whale Oil,” one that would not be “right or left, but … a properly resourced new media venture with all the news, all the time,” but wouldn’t comment on whether Instra managing founder and Kim Dotcom-supporter-turned-detractor Tony Lentino was bankrolling the idea.

That was confirmed, however, in April this year in a piece published on Whale Oil by Regan Cunliffe, the founder of former television fan site Throng who is understood to be Mr Slater’s business partner in the venture.

As well as saying Freed had been “incredibly close to launching” at the end of 2014, only for the plan to be derailed by Mr Lentino’s cancer diagnosis (the impact of the allegations in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics goes unremarked), Mr Cunliffe revealed the site is “ready to launch,” requiring only “a few more people” to help fund it.

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– Nick Grant, NBR


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