- media investment
- sales and marketing
Duncan Williams has several years of broadcasting and new media experience working for industry giants such as Independent News and Media Plc, News Corp, Trinity Mirror, Goldcrest Films and Heart of London Radio.
With the increased impact of mass communications in recent times he believes the media has an increased responsibility to provide beneficial content for readers.
Editorial focus being placed upon 'bringing positive news to positive people', has greatly helped his sales and advertising to increase.
A portfolio of titles launched specifically at improving communication within local communities has proven very successful throughout the EU.
Buying up formerly loss making regional newspapers, fast tracking them into profit with value advertising, has been a winning business formula.
In 2008 Duncan was appointed a Director on the board of Independent News Ltd.
Do you have a new digital app, magazine title or local newspaper business for sale? If so, Duncan might be interested in hearing from you...
"Whether it be about a tragedy or a success, a good story is always about the celebration of human life."http://duncan-williams.blogspot.com/
25 Jan 2018
A YEOLMBRIDGE man said he is ‘delighted’ his company has bought the ‘View From’ series of newspapers and Pulman’s Weekly News.
Last week the Post reported Duncan Williams, who is a commercial development consultant with News Group Ltd, runs Dorset-based marketing service the Poole Post, and is a director of Vibe Marketing, had set up a crowdfunding campaign to try and save the View From series of recently closed weekly papers, which serves towns in Dorset, Devon and Somerset.
He wanted to try and raise £85,000 by March 3 through crowdfunding.
But last week, Mr Williams met with Truro City Football Club chairman Peter Masters, previous owner of the View From series.
Mr Williams told the Post: “My company has bought the View newsgroup and the very old Pulman’s Weekly News. I’m delighted.”
Report by Amy Dennis for the Cornish & Devon Post.
22 Jan 2018
Report by Edward Oldfield for DevonLive.com
New owner Duncan Williams says he is working on plans to relaunch the View From newspaper series which closed in early January.
|Pulmans View From Honiton|
18 Jan 2018
|Duncan Williams, who is urging people to support their local newspapers.|
Report by Amy Dennis for The Cornish & Devon Post
10 Jan 2018
The series has ceased publication, resulting in around 20 redundancies, less than six months after the titles were bought by Truro City Football Club chairman Peter Masters in July last year.
The purchase followed his buyout of the Liskeard-based Sunday Independent earlier in 2017.
Duncan is a commercial development consultant with News Group Ltd, and runs Dorset-based marketing service the Poole Post.
He is aiming to raise £85,000 by 3 March to buy the ‘View From’ titles and take them into community ownership.
In a pitch to potential investors on his crowdfunding page, Duncan said: “This is very sad news indeed for Dorset and the south. Local newspapers are the voice of our communities. In this era of ‘fake news’, brands that have over a 100 years of reporting creditably should not be lost. We now have a whole county dominated by American owned media giant Newsquest.
“In addition to Dorset, View News faithfully covered stories in the counties of Somerset and Devon for many years. Highlighting local interest stories and helping to profile small businesses in these areas, View News and Pulman’s Weekly News are trusted and respected brands. Too good to lose.
“We are proposing new community ownership business model. And in doing so we aim to prove to the city banks, venture capitalists and advertising agencies that regional communities value their local media.
“It offers a chance for local people to have a real stake in and to share their views and voices as part of their own local media group.”
The newspapers affected by last week’s closures are the View From titles based in Beaminster, Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Seaton, Honiton and South Somerset, and the Pulman’s Weekly News which is based in Axminster.
A spokesman for the Independent said last week: “Having acquired the titles out of administration in July of last year we agreed to continue publishing the loss-making titles for six months in a bid to give continued employment for the staff.
“But in the light of continued falling revenues, we have reluctantly decided that the titles are no longer sustainable.”
Report by David Sharman for Holdthefrontpage.co.uk
08 Jan 2018
Seven free weekly newspapers in the West Country have closed with about 20 staff understood to have been made redundant.
The View From series of local newspapers covering East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset – with a combined circulation of 33,000 (unaudited figures) – published their final editions last week.
The titles had been bought by Sunday Independent owner Peter Masters in July last year after previous owners Capital Media Newspapers went into administration.
A spokesperson said: “We agreed to continue publishing the loss-making titles for six months in a bid to give continued employment for the staff, but in the light of continued falling revenues, we have reluctantly decided that the titles are no longer sustainable.”
Philip Evans, managing director and editor, who launched the papers 12 years ago, said: “It’s not been an easy decision. But having looked at this from every angle, the titles are just not viable in the current industry climate.”
A crowdfunding campaign has been set up in an attempt to establish a community-owned local media group to buy the newspapers.
Media company director Duncan Williams, who set up the fund, said: “Local newspapers are the voice of our communities.
“In this era of ‘fake news’, brands that have over a 100 years of reporting creditably should not be lost. We now have the whole county of Dorset dominated by American-owned media giant Newsquest.”
Report by Thomas Kavanagh for Press Gazette.
31 Aug 2017
Report by Sam Gelder for the Islington Gazette.
Businesses have been urged to take a chance on ex-prisoners by hiring them and helping in their recovery from addiction.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Entrepreneur Duncan Williams gave a talk at Pentonville prison last week urging firms to offer internships or training to inmates after their release.
The event was to raise awareness of The Forward Trust, previously known as the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust, or Rapt, which helps prisoners by offering a 12-step recovery programme.
Duncan’s firm has supported the charity for years. He said: “Twelve-step programmes can assist addicts in their communities just as much as they do inside prisons.
“Education should always be made available so inmates can possess the basic skills they’ll need to land a decent job when they get out. Many come out with new skills and an eagerness to rejoin society. They just need someone to give them a second chance.”
Founder of Christian Free Press Duncan Williams discusses his research after studying at Weymouth College
08 Aug 2017
|Duncan Williams, founder of Christian Free press.|
21 Jul 2017
Read the published article:
Religious magazines and newspapers are a way to reach people suffering with mental health problems and give them a message of hope. There is often stigma surrounding this topic that causes additional and needless pain to both the sufferer and those around them. This can go on for years and through generations.
I see a nationwide mental health problem that is getting neither the understanding nor the help it deserves.
It is no exaggeration to claim that Britain is in the grip of a mental health crisis. Millions admit to having suffered, or are currently suffering, with anxiety and despair which medical statistics can confirm in grim detail.
In a Unicef report commissioned by the Department for Education, a culture of 'compulsive consumerism' was cited as a major contributing factor to the onset of mental illness and breakdown of the family structure.
Religion and spirituality have been sidelined, and that this may be one of the root causes of our mental health crisis.
The great psychologist Carl Jung always wrote in support of the benefits of embracing meditation and a spiritual framework for clients who had suffered trauma and were needing healing of the psyche. The UK'S mental health crisis could be reduced by reintroducing spirituality instead of focusing on material gain.
Too many consciously trendy faith titles play the consumerists game by offering Christian car reviews, Hollywood celebrity testimonials, gadget and designer clothing features, and probably missing the point of what introducing people to a spiritual dimension to living is all about.
In essence, a spiritual balance could be summarised as looking to the good and drawing on the positive in order to outweigh the negative.
What we focus on, they give us more of. Doom and gloom become a self-perpetuating and ever widening cycle of negativity. Advertising and marketing also play a large part in the deliberate manufacture of discontent in order to create needy revenue streams out of stimulated consumerism.
When greed is nurtured and contentment attacked, what chance does peace of mind have?
￼Readers send me letters to express their feelings and talk about grief, after being inspired by stories in religious magazines.
This is how media can be very helpful to society. Newspapers and magazines give people a chance to speak about grief.
It was while leading talks in hospitals and prisons that I first realised how writing can help people to better express their feelings. People suffering from war trauma and other forms of PTSD often develop problems with addiction, they drop out of society and too frequently fall foul of the law.
Response to inspirational literature was very positive. Practical reports of how people can rebuild their lives from out of the ruins of drug addiction or depression, and in turn help others to do the same.
I have observed countless people become able to recover and get well.
This experience made me want to set up a publishing company in a bid to reach more people in need and give them a chance to voice their feelings.
￼If people lock their pain it's not good. For example, my elderly grandfather's suicide was brought about by war trauma at sea that he was never able to talk about. The sinking of the ship he served on and drowning of many comrades and passengers haunted him years after the event.
Being able to be able to talk about traumatic events is vital to the healing process. Too many former members of the armed forces live haunted lives after being mentally scarred. Conversation can break the isolation. Even Prince Harry has recently encouraged people to talk about grief and their mental health.
I believe that problems with modern society are making it difficult for us to fully comprehend, contextualise and work through our grief. The first symptom? Having to be busy, busy, busy.
Our modern obsession with being busy is not always wise when we'd be better off focusing on just being. Busy keeps thoughts of discontent at bay, but only temporarily. Just being, and just being still, can be revolutionary. It often reveals what we are really being too busy not to think about.
￼Spirituality could bridge this divide, even if it may be a different kind of spirituality than that which was more common twenty, fifty or a hundred years ago.
Self help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous thrive through not enforcing any specific brand of religion but at the same time use their literature and philosophy to actively encourage viewing mental health from a spiritual perspective. There is no doubt that they save many lives through this open-door approach.
Pick and mix attitudes toward religious teachings may be frowned upon by devotees, fundamentals and fanatics, but a 'take what you need leave the rest' approach to studying any creed may be the key to peace and unity.
Trashing all religions is harmful to a progressive society, not to mention scientifically worthless – it's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Our current avoidance of embracing the clear benefits religion and spirituality has to offer has led to a materialistic society, which may be partly to blame for the rising numbers of mental health issues in growing numbers of people.
This spiritual-phobia coupled with the mainstream media's relentless focus on bad news is ultimately bad for your happiness and your mental health.
A spiritual dimension to living, offering a well-argued alternative viewpoint, challenges our personal and collective values, reminding us that we are all more than what we accumulate. Theology and faith journalism has a place in the era of new media and helps paves a way out of a commercialised rat race.
Whether you identify with religion or not, there is a fundamental honesty contained in the teachings of most faith-based communities when they warn people against the empty pursuit of materialism and attaching oneself too completely to any of the world's fleeting and ultimately finite pleasures.
My experience has been that by delivering beneficial newspaper and magazines through armed forces chaplaincies, hospitals, prisons and community centres, a message of hope can be effectively offered and shared.
Good communication is a great healer.
As long as religious people put the needs of genuinely helping others ahead of promoting their religion beliefs, all is good. After all, a faith themed magazine in a hospital or a war zone can lift the spirits, if responsibly presented.
More help is needed in treating mental health and not just relying on church groups and the well intentioned voluntary sector to muddle on indefinitely. I believe the media can do much more than being a mirror to our society, and can be a leader for beneficial change.
Duncan Williams is outreach director for the Christian Free Press and has worked for Son Christian Media here in the UK and Recovery Network Radio in the United States. He has recently spoken out about the power of inspirational publications, and religious publications generally, to help those who are beset with mental health issues. Follow him on Twitter @talkingpapers. He writes here in the run-up to Monday 24 July, The Big Listen, a day when we share the importance of listening and taking the time for one another. Find out how you can become a better listener with our SHUSH listening tips - http://www.samaritans.org/shush #TalkToUs
Faith-Publisher Speaks Out About How Religious Publications Can Help People With Mental Health Problems
26 May 2017
|Duncan Williams of the Christian Free Press (NewsGroup)|
Daily Echo report
08 May 2017
This week, Mental Health Awareness Week, publisher Duncan Williams talks about the role of media in society, about depression, good news, and both the positive and negative effects the industry can have on those who work in it.
My father drank himself to death. He suffered convulsions during a failed detox treatment in hospital. I often wonder what might have happened if he had found some inspiration, some faith, even if just in a copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous book.
He did have a Bible, but I don't think it was read much. He kept it hidden in a sock drawer next to a rosary and a pistol.
Later, during a gap year, I worked in the same NHS hospital my father had died in. I made dozens of beds on a dementia unit and worked on the hospital’s magazine, The Beacon. It was a well-intentioned title that reached patients with uplifting news stories and pictures. As the name suggested, The Beacon offered hope to vulnerable and sick people.
Perhaps the right book or other literature could have given him the answers he was seeking. Yes, books and writing can save lives. But you must first provide those books and encourage that writing. I notice that a large part of the recovery process for alcoholics in treatment units throughout the world today involves copious amounts of reading and writing.
The medical profession seem to agree that this opens up a channel towards self honesty and a connection with a ‘Higher Power’.
Whether you believe faith is a fantasy or not, books that encourage faith are particularly effective in providing the hope that saves lives. Faith is not just a fanciful idea so much as a practical life raft.
Losing it can spell death for some. Seeking it can help keep you afloat. I have seen it.
Even just seeking faith can work wonders – or simply accepting that you are on a journey, and being grateful for it.
Inspirational literature, or studying theology, can be like a navigation map. It can prevent you from hitting the rocks.
I was fortunate to attend one of the earliest Alpha courses (a Christian enquiry course) set up in London during the 1990s. It was held at St Jude’s Church in Earl’s Court, which is now St Mellitus Theological College. I learned that identification rather than indoctrination seemed the wisest way to introduce ideas and win people over to an important message.
That is why I first started the Christian Free Press. Now incorporated as a limited company and having won a generous bursary from News Group, we are redoubling our efforts to get free Christian newspapers, magazines and literature into local churches, prisons, libraries and hospitals across the UK.
Together with providing print titles, Christian Free Press has also pioneered social media outreach via Facebook and Twitter since 2010.
This simple provision of faith-based literature and media can help bridge the gap of isolation experienced by many people of various ages, who do not have to be in prison to feel alone and without hope.
Part of the aim of the Christian Free Press is to counter the negativity that pervades our national media. The headlines make depressing reading, day after day. A tragic death gets a mass of column inches and airtime, whereas the celebration of a human life gets far less.
Most people would surely prefer to read uplifting stories that aim to educate and inspire.
Instead, column inches seem to be packed full of the woes of celebrities, the failures of politicians, or warnings about impending economic doom after Brexit.
There is nothing to inspire positive change in the life of the reader or society in general.
Wouldn’t it be better to be greeted with an uplifting story about achievement, about something to celebrate, about something optimistic – to get you in a good mood as you take on the day?
I really believe in the power of a good story. A good story does as it says on the tin; it reports a truthful, inspiring message… or draws attention to somebody or something worthwhile.
We need positivity now more than ever. Depression is one of the biggest killers in this country, and mental well-being is one of the greatest problems of our day. The Office for National Statistics reported in 2013 that nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression.
And it’s not just a question of reporting more good news than bad news. It’s also a question of how you report the bad news. Why not point to the redeeming features in a tragic story, rather than just the tragedy? People can still learn something from a tragedy that will help them in life, if the event is not just reported in a clinical or cynical way. A tragedy often brings out the best in people and highlights the inner strength of human beings, with communities pulling together during times of adversity.
Whether it be about a tragedy or a success, a good story is always about the celebration of human life.
It’s human nature to want good to succeed over evil; it’s what best assists group survival. The message in the Christian Bible itself is one of tremendous hope. It is filled with inspirational stories and fundamental good news, and that’s where I take my template from.
￼In this era of “post truth” and “alternative facts” many people are turned off by national media reporting, yet if they get their news from social media there is even more “fake news” on offer.
Readers need sources of news that they can trust, now more than ever before.
I believe that by offering more positive media, we can build a more positive society. When all focus is placed relentlessly upon the negative, true vision, faith and hope all get eroded. A new pair of glasses can remind people that the world can still be a very beautiful place, even in the most difficult of times. Modern media can be that powerful. I believe that ten years of revised media attitudes could have a remarkably beneficial effect upon society.
Just imagine if, in ten years’ time, you picked up your morning newspaper and read a good story that not only informed you, but educated you, inspired you, and enriched your life. Wouldn’t that make a nice change?
For more about Christian Free Press Limited, contact Duncan at email@example.com
© 2017 themedianet | The Church and Media Network is a registered charity in England and Wales: 1162772 | Website by Digital Creative
08 May 2017
|Duncan Williams speaking at the Christian Free Press|
23 Apr 2017
|Duncan Williams at St Swithun's, Bournemouth|
A POOLE-based publisher has spoken out against what he calls the ethos adopted by many churches when treating people for drug and alcohol abuse.
Duncan Williams, founder of Christian Free Press Limited, was prompted to speak out over "rigid Christian dogma" after reading an article in the Telegraph about a poll which revealed that nearly one in four Christians did not believe in the story of Jesus's resurrection.
"Church must embrace even non believers in the resurrection, as forcing a hard and fast declaration of what it is to be truly Christian upon those unable to attest, makes liars out of honest people, and a neurotic church results from even the most well intentioned cognitive dissonance," Mr Williams said. "It saddens me that this debate has already resulted in so many old school Christians saying (loudly in some quarters) that those who don't fit their rigid template of belief are not to be considered fit for membership of the club.
￼"Additionally, Bournemouth and the south has some of the highest proportion of AA and NA meetings and recovery centres in the UK. Many of these people depend upon a higher power concept to maintain their sobriety and attend church in the area often for exactly this same reason. To insist that they have to adopt rigid Christian dogma would be the kiss of death to many of these people."
Mr Williams said instances of substance abuse and mental health within his family have enabled him to understand how important the right literature can be to a person in need.
"My father drank himself to death. It was a dreadful end for someone who had once been a serving officer in the Royal Marines," he said. "I often wonder what might have happened if he had found some inspiration, some faith, even if just in a copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous book."
While working in the hospital his father died in, Mr Williams discovered Beacon - the hospital's magazine that aimed to give hope to the vulnerable and sick.
"Maybe such a publication could have prevented my maternal grandfather taking his own life. He suffered dreadful depression due to survivor's guilt, and the trauma that he experienced during World War Two. As a young man he fought hard to stay alive in the sea after a German air attack sank a hospital ship he served on, which was filled with wounded soldiers.
￼"Sadly, in later life and old age, this depression overwhelmed him and he was found drowned. My grandfather never seemed fully able to accept or understand if he had been chosen to live, or if he had himself mustered the faith to beat the odds and live.
"Perhaps the right book or other literature could have given him the answers he was seeking.
"Whether you believe faith is a fantasy or not, books that encourage faith are particularly effective in providing the hope that saves lives. Faith is not just a fanciful idea so much as a practical life raft. Losing it can spell death for some. Seeking it can help keep you afloat. I have seen it."
A report by Lauren Howard for Newsquest's Bournemouth Echo (23/04/17).
25 Nov 2015
- Jump up^ "Teen Web Sites: Tap into the teen market". www.marketingmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- Jump up^ O'Sullivan, Sally (2004-01-24). "A taste of Sugar for the boys? Sorted". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- Jump up^ THOMPSON, by HUGH. "My big deal: Russell Church". Retrieved2017-08-07.
- Jump up^ "Sorted magAZine (1996-2004)". sortedmagazine.com. Retrieved 14 March2016.
- Jump up^ "Brighton lads mag Sorted closes after just four issues".
- Jump up^ Alliance, Evangelical. "Steve Legg - Editor". Evangelical Alliance. Retrieved2017-08-06.
- Jump up^ West, By Ed. "Lad's mags? I must get myself sorted". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- Jump up^ "Home". Become Trust. 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- Jump up^ "'Wholesome' men's mag with a Christian slant bucks the trend of circulation decline".
- Jump up^ "THE SON". issuu. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- Jump up^ "Sorted: a revolution in media | Christian News on Christian Today".www.christiantoday.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Jump up^ "Publisher speaks out over churches' 'rigid' values when treating people for drug and alcohol abuse". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Jump up^ Duncan Williams (2016-11-26), BBC Radio : News Editor Duncan Williams Interviewed By Justine Greene (20/11/2016)., retrieved 2017-08-16
25 Nov 2014
WHY A MEDIA HUB FOR POOLE?
Community media hubs can help build and highlight local businesses.
This is good for the town's commerce and growth. We can also reach people struck by isolation, loneliness and poverty. A healthy local economy can help support the community.
HELPING UNITE LOCAL PEOPLE
At the PoolePost.co.uk we aim to speak to neighbourhoods where living standards are high, low, or where rural, social or economic barriers prevent people accessing vital information and education.
We can promote the value of men and women, and investigate wrongs or serious abuses.
A POSTING PLATFORM FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS
We can introduce people to new ideas and help strengthen bonds within local communities.
Media can move mountains.
We help communities use it to change lives - and unite our town.
EXPANDING POOLE'S SOCIAL MEDIA OUTREACH
Bookmark our website and connect with us via social media at www.twitter.com/poolepost and www.facebook.com/poolepost to see how our local media hub is touching the lives of local people.
22 Jun 2014
What grabbed the attention of the media industry was while other men's lifestyle brands were experiencing an overall readership slump, rivals like Nuts even facing closure, Sorted magazine was gaining subscriptions issue upon issue. This remains the trend, official ABC recorded statistics detailing Sorted's upward trajectory.
SCM's Director of Publishing, Duncan Williams, maintains; "the success of Sorted is due entirely to it's niche editorial and adherence to ethical content."
This policy has certainly won favour, particularly in the wake of the hacking scandal and a rapid change in public attitudes over acceptable standards of journalism.
Williams may well be smiling, as he himself was once a tabloid hack, earlier in his career working for the now notorious News of the World as an investigative freelancer.
"Although I was never personally involved in phone hacking," Williams is quick to point out, he does admit; "I was approached by Operation Weeting, and with some sober reflection, have to agree that techniques revealed as used by some journalists are clearly unacceptable. However, a large degree ofresponsibility must rest with the publishers and those at the top of media organisations. Journalists are frequently under huge pressure from directors and executives, people with power to shape editorial agendas, to find fresh exclusives. And a fish rots from the head down."
Following their success in the UK, Sorted announced in Press Gazette their plans to distribute down under in Australia before the close of the year. This has now happened and the current edition of Sorted magazine features a cover exclusive given by Russell Crowe, a man not usually shy with hostility when it comes to media hacks.
02 Apr 2014
Nuts magazine has announced that it may soon be forced to close following a significant fall in sales.
27 Mar 2014
HIGH profile Launceston College alumni Bond-star Roger Moore and Duncan Williams, who attended the school some 40 years apart, will be brought together during a magazine interview.
22 Feb 2014
|Floods in Somerset (Pic: Guy Smallman)|
14 Feb 2014
References[edit source | edit]
- Jump up^ "Daily Mail group puts its regional press up for sale". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- Jump up^ "Trinity Mirror puts regional newspapers up for sale - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage". HoldTheFrontPage. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
- Jump up^ 
- Jump up^ "Sorted: a revolution in media | Christian News on Christian Today". www.christiantoday.com. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- Jump up^ "'Wholesome' men's mag with a Christian slant bucks the trend of circulation decline | Press Gazette". www.pressgazette.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
24 Jan 2014
15 Jan 2014
Report for Press Gazette by Emma McGarthy
The circulation of men's magazines such as Loaded, Nuts and Zoo have been in freefall in recent years - but a title with more "wholesome" content claims to be bucking the trend.
Sorted, a men's title with a Christian slant, comes out six times a year and has doubled its circulation over the last year from 20,000 to 40,000.
Launched in 2007, it has a newsstand sale of 2,000 and 3,300 subscribers with the remainder circulated via bulk distribution deals to outlets including bars, gyms and health clubs. Business backers pay for the title to be distributed for free into UK prisons and to the armed forces.
The title covers usual men's mag fare of science, football and movies - but also deals with "faith".
Director of publishing Duncan Williams said Sorted is a more mature, upbeat and wholesome magazine than other men's titles, with more in-depth content.
He says: “It’s something for men to identify with in a positive way...A lot people buying it are women as presents [for men] as it’s not derogative.”
Each publication features an in-depth interview with a male celebrity. He said that big names who have spoken to the title include Will Smith, Steve Carrell, Denzil Washington, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Caine.
The magazine is next published on 18 February priced £4.
It has a full-time staff of three, with six freelances, and revenue comes from a mix of subscribers and advertisers such as Apple and David Beckham’s deodorant brand. Regular editorial contributors include TV adventurer Bear Grylls.
Williams said: “Advertisers are very keen to be associated with a more wholesome and mature publication.”
There are plans to expand the title into New Zealand and Australia.
06 Jan 2014
Son Christian Media Ltd is Britain’s leading mainstream faith publisher.In addition to our social media platform THE SON , we publish print titles called SORTED magazine and Liberti magazine, which are distributed nationally via WHSmith and all good newsagents and in 15 other countries globally. Sorted magazine, which is aimed primarily at Christian men, has doubled its circulation in the past year from 20,000 to 40,000.
Created by editor Steve Legg and publisher Duncan Williams after seeing a gap in the market for a magazine that “stimulate[s] the mind rather than the libido” and set about creating something “more mature, upbeat and wholesome” for the men’s market.
01 Aug 2013
What kind of stories do you like to read in the news?
A good story is also advantageous from a business perspective. Good stories sell.
06 Jul 2010
Forum for Change
05 Mar 2010
Duncan Williams, tabloid dirt digger turned positive media guru : An article by Liz Oldfield (Hunter) for theMediaNet.org / Church and Media Network
Duncan Williams has seen the very worst of the media world. Working as a tabloid ‘dirt-digger’ in the late 90s he spent his days seeking out celebrity stories in a culture where bribery, blackmail and stealing rubbish was the norm. Even born again Christian Jonathan Aitken once phoned to call him "a lying, underhanded s++t!." Now, though, Duncan owns his own ethical publishing company with a keen vision of building up struggling local and regional titles, and helping them to keep giving a voice to communities who are often drowned out in the noise of globalisation. He deliberately employs a proportion of ex-offenders and those recovering from addiction - and insists on a strongly positive editorial policy. In a nightmare market, the company is going from strength to strength. So how did he get from one to the other?
Duncan’s first contact with the media was through editing his school magazine, which he quickly renamed Bronco after a notorious brand of toilet roll. Writing gave him and his rebellious school friends a chance to let off steam, and he was hooked. At age 17 he moved from the West Country to London to attend film school, and went on to have a career in new media and film advertising throughout the 90s boom years. It was a destructive environment, with a heavy drinking culture, but even then Duncan says “writing was really a form of prayer, a way of getting in touch with my real myself when I couldn’t always express things well verbally".
A move into print at the end of the decade proved lucrative - whilst selling advertising for a series of high profile London magazine titles, Duncan realised that the real money was in sensationalist news and set himself up as a freelance investigator for all the major tabloids.
Kept on retainer, he would be given a brief by an editor and set about finding, or creating, a story about them. One well read middle England title, he recalls, would particularly like tittle tattle about society women and would pay very handsomely for insider gossip. It’s wasn’t just journalists that are paid by the papers - behind the staff whose names appear on by-lines there is a huge network of contacts receiving a monthly fee for feeding in stories, from celebrities’ close 'friends' to hairdressers and even doctors. It was not unusual to see suitcases of cash changing hands. Duncan had regular dealings with ‘Benji the Binman’ who made his fortune hunting for scandal in rubbish, and would also employ covert surveillance. Even if all that failed it didn’t mean the story was dead. “I clearly remember one day seeing a front cover of renown Sunday tabloid, a story about Robbie Williams, and knowing that 90% of it was distorted from fact, because I had engineered most of these embellishments. Robbie went on to sue and win a large out of court settlement, but most of the time, for the papers, it was worth it”. As several recent revelations about tabloid reporting practice confirm, he doesn’t think much has changed.
"Today, one rewarding amend for me, " says Duncan. " Is that I am able to commission the very celebrity targets of my past life to write positive pieces for my own publications. Obviously, celebrities have feelings too... and fortunately forgiveness is often one of them!"
Duncan says that there was no blinding light epiphany for him, just a realisation over several years that his life had “bottomed out”. He sought help with his heavy drinking and excessive lifestyle, and became a committed Catholic Christian. Not long after he made the decision to use all the money he had made to set up his own independent news company. With the support of some old tabloid colleagues, angel investors and some big hearted celebrities, this step forward seems to have worked out.
Duncan thinks it’s the most exciting time to be in papers, and that the laments over the death of journalism are misguided. Change is inevitable, but not disastrous, and can be a chance for good. There are huge opportunities for those who want to be influential people of integrity. He was able to buy shares in several large media companies after the price had dropped by 90% last year and is now on the board of five of these; “There are huge opportunities for those who want to be influential people of integrity. The digital revolution will eventually provide far more readers for local titles once they’ve embraced new platforms; Things like Kindle and the iPad provide an amazing way to get positive, ethical stories out there, and we’re showing that there is an audience for it.”
The titles owned by Duncan, and his group of positive independent news companies, including the Christian Free Press limited, are trying to make a stand against the “propaganda of negativity” that he thinks so shapes our thinking. Like many of us, and even having seen the very darkest side to the media, he passionately believes it can be a force for good.
*(Update.) Since this article was first published in 2010, Independent News Limited, Duncan Williams Limited and Christian Free Press Limited, have each distributed hundreds of thousands of Good News papers and magazines into hospitals, prisons and community centres throughout the UK.