Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Media Goes Back To Old-School

It was a rare morning at the motel this morning with no breakfasts to prepare, so after delivering copies of The Dom and NZ Herald to my guests, I went for a brisk walk around the neighborhood in search of today's edition of The Truth.

You would have read recently that Cameron Slater, the man behind NZ's number 1 blog, Whaleoil has crossed to the other side and is Truth's new editor. After years of slagging off the MSM, Slater has decided to join them in a big way and distribute news and views via an iconic old-school weekly newsprint publication.

Today was the day for The Truth's first publication with Cameron Slater at the helm.

My journey to get my hands on a copy was an interesting experience. The first dairy only held copies of last week's edition. The second dairy had two current copies....but the titles had been cut off the front pages (obviously a mischievous rouse to sell mutilated copies AND gain a refund from the distributor). After questioning the dodgy dairy-owner about her scissor handywork, she offered me a discount - thanks!

Finally I managed to get a copy of The Truth from a service station that was on my walking circuit. I must admit my Presbyterian upbringing kicked in momentarily and I felt a tinge of self-consciousness buying this titillating rag  - I'm sure the lady behind the counter looked at me a bit funny when I handed over the $2.80....

Up until recently, I hadn't realised that The Truth was still being published and after getting the publication home it would appear that nothing has changed much over the years.

The easy-read blokey publication appears to have three equally proportioned sections: "news," sport and tits 'n bums (ie: a handy adult feature lift-out).

Truth's fortunes will be fascinating to watch as opinionated blog-style "reporting" meets newsprint.   It will be a challenge to connect to readers via newsprint and reach out to them for opinion and even the source of news.

As the public is increasingly reading news digitally, it will be interesting to see how this market can be attracted and interact. And how is the online portion of the newspaper business going to be transformed into a profit centre?

This week's edition will hopefully be the base from where Truth goes onwards and upwards. Using The Truth as a vehicle to venture into a new era of media is going to be a difficult task.

The incremental changes that have been promised in print (and online) over the next few months will be an interesting experiment in media content, style and distribution.

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