Truth (Melbourne newspaper)

Truth was a Melbourne tabloid newspaper established in 1902 as a subsidiary of Sydney's Truth.[1] It was "a sensational weekly paper with a large circulation, delighting while shocking its readers with its frequent exposure of personal scandal and social injustice. Detailed police and court reports, illustrated by drawings and photographs of prosecutors and defendants."[2]

Truth
TypeWeekly newspaper
FormatTabloid
Owner(s)Owen Thomson & Mark Day
Founded1902
Ceased publication1995
HeadquartersMelbourne, Australia
Circulation400,000 (peak)

History

In its early years Truth was left-leaning, and painted itself as the voice of the working class. Before 1945 it had a style of journalism that was high pitched, sensational and melodramatic. The newspaper from its earliest days was based on scandal, particularly based on the records of the divorce courts, which were not subject to restrictions on reporting.

Truth broke stories involving Agent Orange and Vietnam veterans, as well as the whole story of what happened at Maralinga with the A-bomb tests.[3] In 1967, Richard L'Estrange broke the scandal surrounding the Melbourne-Voyager collision. Evan Whitton's report on police protection of abortionists led to an inquiry into the abortion protection racket of the 1960s, and the jailing of several officers.[4]

In December 1958, Ezra Norton and the other shareholders of its holding company, Truth and Sportsman Ltd, sold their shares to the Fairfax group, which sold it on to Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd.[5] The late Owen Thomson (believed to be the inspiration of Barry Humphries's Sir Les Patterson character) and Mark Day were the final owners of the paper before it folded. It is said that Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (Rupert's mother) took a dim view of the scandal sheet, which was later passed on to Thomson and Day.

In its final years, the newspaper was noted for its eclectic coverage, which combined photos of women with big bare breasts on page 3 (recycled from The Sun (United Kingdom) newspaper[3]), and tongue-in-cheek humour with hard-edged reporting, as well as the iconic racing liftout form guide, Truform. It also had a Dorothy Dix segment page called, Heart Balm.It was last published in 1995.

In 2014, the Herald Sun newspaper published a list of twenty things "most sorely missed from Melbourne life in the 1980s."[6] Number 14 was "Being embarrassed when Dad came home with the Truth, complete with Page 3 girl."

Famous headline

One of its most famous headlines, "Snedden Died on the Job", was written to announce the death of Sir Billy Snedden, who was rumoured to have died of a heart attack while having sexual intercourse with a woman.[7]

Circulation

At its peak in the mid-1960s, the Truth sold 400,000 copies per week.[3][8]

Notable journalists and columnists

At one time or other, many of Australia's respected journalists worked on the paper:

  • Stanley Cecil (Sol) Chandler
  • Leon Gettler
  • Geoffrey Hawthorne, news editor and assistant editor (1984)[9]
  • Richard L'Estrange
  • John Norton
  • Adrian Tame
  • Owen Thompson
  • Evan Whitton

See also

References

  1. Cannon, Michael. "Norton, John (1858–1916)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  2. Stuart, Lurline (July 2008). "Truth Newspaper". eMelbourne : The City Past & Present. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. Negus, George (19 July 2004). "Adrian Tame – former editor, Truth". ABC2 GNT History. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. McKnight, David (27 August 2005). "The post war roots of the investigative tradition in Australian journalism". David McKnight. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  5. Lawson, Valerie. "Norton, Ezra (1897–1967)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  6. Hadfield, Shelley (29 May 2014). "These are the things most sorely missed from Melbourne life in the 1980s". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  7. Tony Wright and Carol Nader (5 September 2009). "Sex and the not so private lives of politicians". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  8. Whitton, Evan. "Getting It In: The Life and Times of a Newspaperman" (PDF). Mens Journal. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  9. "Magistrates' Court on 8 May". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2 May 1984. p. 15.
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