Online FrankTALK with Adrian Tame

Frankston City Libraries

Event Date: 
24 September 2020
Author / Presenters: 
Adrian Tame

Before Fake News, there was the real Fake News – there was Truth.

Adrian Tame has seen a lot. The former journalist, broadcaster and PR executive cut his teeth of Fleet Street in the 1960s before moving to Canada, Mexico, back to England, and on to Australia where he landed in the Melbourne office of the tabloid, Truth in 1973.

Truth began in Sydney in 1879, and became the launching pad of tabloid journalism as we know it today. Hailed as ‘a fearless exposer of folly, vice and crime’ when it first hit the streets in the 1890s, Truth was later condemned by a High Court Judge as ‘a wretched little paper, reeking of filth, injurious to the health of house servants and young girls.’

Its first editor, Adolphus Taylor, known as The Mudgee Camel, died from syphilis in a lunatic asylum. in 1896 the infamous John Norton bought the paper and wrote the book on tabloid journalism that would prevail for the next 120 years, targeting the rich, famous and pompous. In 1922 Norton’s son Ezra took over the paper, and by the time he sold it to the Fairfax Group in 1958 it was circulating in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and New Zealand with sales of close to half a million a week.

Truth was one of the newspapers responsible for Rupert Murdoch’s early foray into print media ownership. He purchased Truth from Fairfax in the late 1950s, using its profits to finance his more respectable publications, The Daily Mirror and The Australian, providing Murdoch with the grounding from which he began shaping his media empire and political influence both locally and abroad.

The scandals Truth broke, typically involving politicians Murdoch was attempting to align himself with to secure TV licences in Australian, led him to sell the paper in 1980 to editors, Mark Day and Owen Thomson. Under the leadership of Mark and Owen, the paper became eclectic featuring image of page 3 women, notable scoops and scandals, as well as the most popular racing form guide in the country, before closing in 1995.

The Awful Truth is part history of Truth and part personal memoir. In the latter half of the book, Adrian reveals his personal anecdotal memories of the people he worked with and wrote about.

Funny, often outrageous and always thoroughly entertaining, The Awful Truth is a rollercoaster ride through a colourful era of newspapers and larger-than-life reporters that we will never see the like of again.

Adrian Tame has worked as a writer, journalist and broadcaster in Australia, the UK, North America and Mexico. He worked for Truth newspaper for thirteen years as a reporter and news editor. He is the author of The Matriarch, a biography of ‘Granny Evil’ Kathy Pettingill, Deadlier than the Mail and co-author with F.P.J. Robotham, of Maralinga: British A-bomb, Australian Legacy.

Please join us for this FrankTALK with former journalist and author, Adrian Tame on Thursday 24 September at 12.30pm via Zoom. Bookings are essential.

The Awful Truth and Adrian’s other titles are available to borrow with you Frankston City Libraries membership on our BorrowBox app: https://bit.ly/3iC4YzB

The Awful Truth and Adrian’s other books are available to purchase from Robinsons Bookshop here: https://bit.ly/31UFmbS