Editor: Less sex, more news for Truth

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012
Cameron Slater
FAILED IDEA: Cameron Slater was part of an abandoned plan to sell old NZ Army tanks overseas.

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Topless models and graphic adverts for prostitutes will soon become a thing of the past in tabloid newspaper Truth as controversial Auckland blogger Cameron Slater makes changes at the helm.

The Whale Oil blogger has been hired to turn the ailing weekly paper around and replaces outgoing editor Joseph Lose.

Slater has never been far from controversy and in 2010 was convicted of breaching court order suppressions after he outed several high-profile New Zealanders.

He said his aim as editor was to return the paper, owned by Matthew Horton and David Crow, to its former glory.

The paper, which was founded in 1905, had its glory days from the 1960s to the 1980s, when it sold more than 200,000 copies per issue. Its print run is now now 16,000 copies a week.

The paper said in a statement that it would launch a 24-hour website in coming months.  

Slater's first edition as editor will be on sale from next Thursday and he said he would make "incremental changes".

Among those would be attracting mainstream advertisers to increase revenue and broaden the appeal to a wider audience. Currently the centre of the paper consists of advertising placed by prostitutes.

"I can't make changes straight away, particularly when there's revenue impacted on that, but we will be making changes on the adult side of it and reducing that," Slater said.

"Blokes want to take the paper home and they can't because the missus gives them gyp."

However, the presence of a bare-breasted page three girl might remain.

"I don't think we want to see lots of tits and bums, but I don't have a problem with [the page 3 girl] myself... but we'll see how it goes."

Slater, whose appointment was announced yesterday, said he had already met with the newspaper's "excited" staff who were making changes in order for the paper to be "lethal" in the market.

"We've got a project that will be getting underway, basically today, that will look at revitalising the Truth," he said.

"It's a focus on the pedigree of the past and moving forward by looking backwards. Truth was known as a hard-hitting, investigative journal and we're going to return it to that."

There will also be cross-over with Slater's Whale Oil blog, which will continue to be maintained separately from the newspaper.

Slater is still locked in a two-year court battle with insurance company Fidelity Life Assurance over it cutting payments to him despite him being clinically depressed.

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He received around $100,000 a year under an income protection policy due to depression caused by being "physically and mentally" worn down.

"Business used up all of my time and mental bandwidth and I was actually exhausted, fell over basically. So I make sure I have the breaks from what I'm doing, make sure I take time out for myself, make sure I keep myself fit and look after my diet," he said.

Slater said his new role would not impact on his case.

"The details of that case are particular and time-defined and it's around their decision to cease paying that out," he said.

- Auckland Now

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