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About Me

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...

DUNCAN WILLIAMS

"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/
Entrepreneur Urges Firms To Support Ex-Offenders With Job Opportunities
31 Aug 2017
Islington firms urged to hire ex-prisoners during talk at HMP Pentonville

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.”



See article
Founder of Christian Free Press Duncan Williams discusses his research after studying at Weymouth College
08 Aug 2017
THE founder of the Christian Free Press has spoken out about the benefits of faith-based newspapers, magazines and media.
Duncan Williams has spent the last year studying Social Media and Digital Communications at Weymouth College to discover the how religious media can be a force of good in society.
Having been involved in publishing for many years, Duncan now wants to help others through his work, and has been giving talks on how religious publications can do just that.
He said: “Media can be extremely beneficial in helping people in all sorts of situations as it can provide an outlet for people to talk. Whether that’s in a traditional form of sending a letter or new digital media, it provides people with a platform to speak out and be heard.
“Theology and faith journalism has a place in the era of new media and helps paves a way out of a commercialised rat race.”
Duncan Williams, founder of Christian Free press.
Mr Williams argues that traditional forms of media can often have a “self-perpetuating” cycle of negativity or a “fixation on materialism” which can often leave people feeling isolated, disconnected, or inadequate.
His studies have shown that response to inspiration literature can be positive, with practical reports proving it can help people rebuilding their lives after battles “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 with addiction or depression.
It was when he was leading talks in hospitals and prisons that he first realised how writing can also help people to better express their feelings. He says faith literature can also be particularly beneficial for people suffering from mental health issues.
Mr Williams publishes several magazines and newspapers which are delivered in churches, prisons, and rehab centres across the country.
“My experience has been that by delivering beneficial newspaper and magazines through armed forces chaplaincies, a message of hope can be effectively offered and shared. Good communication is a great healer.”
See article
Is the sidelining of religion a root cause of our mental health crisis?
21 Jul 2017
A report by Duncan Williams for Christian Today. 



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
See article
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)



A FAITH-publisher has spoken out about how religious publications can help those suffering with mental health problems.

Duncan Williams is the founder of Christian Free Press part of larger media company NewsGroup Limited, which delivers magazines in churches across the United Kingdom.

The 52-year-old, from Poole, has worked in the industry for more than two decades.

Now he has highlighted the role that faith publications have in supporting people during difficult times.

He said: “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 a stigma about 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."

Mr Williams explained how readers send him letters to express their feelings and talk about grief, after being inspired by stories on religious magazines.

“This is how media can be very helpful to society. Newspapers and magazines give people a chance to speak about grief,” he said.

It was when he was leading talks in hospitals and prisons that he 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, in turn help others to do the same.

"I have observed countless people become able to recover and get well."

His experience has made him 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” he said.

Mr Williams publishes several magazines and newspapers which are delivered in churches, prisons and rehab centres across the country.

“My experience has been that by delivering beneficial newspaper and magazines through armed forces chaplaincies, a message of hope can be effectively offered and shared. Good communication is a great healer,” he said.

He also stressed that religious magazines must not try to convert vulnerable people.

“ 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," he added.

“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.”

------


(Read the original report by Maria Zaccaro for the (Southern) Daily Echo during Mental Health Awareness Week, 2017.)

Daily Echo report
See article
How Positive Media Can Build A Positive Society
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 williamspublishing@yahoo.com


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See article
Mental health and the Media
08 May 2017


Duncan Williams speaking at the Christian Free Press 

Duncan Williams, the founder of the Christian Free Press, has recently spoken out about the power of his publications, and religious publications generally, to help those who are beset with mental health issues. The Christian Free Press belongs within the umbrella company NewsGroup Limited.


Having been involved in publishing for twenty years, 52-year-old Duncan now wants to help others through his work, and has been giving talks on how religious publications can do just that.


He said: “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."


Mr Williams has been speaking in response to what he sees as a nationwide mental health problem that isn’t getting the understanding nor 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.”



He believes that 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," he suggests.


Rather than being a faith led initiative, however, Duncan suggests that our media consumption has to change. "What we focus on, they give us more of. Doom and gloom becomes 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?"



Mr Williams explained how readers send him 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,” he said.


It was when he was leading talks in hospitals and prisons that he 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, in turn help others to do the same.

"I have observed countless people become able to recover and get well."


His experience has made him 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,” he said.


Mr Williams firmly believes 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."


But Duncan believes that 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.


“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.”


Mr Williams has also pointed out that the materialism of society is another of the central societal issues he would like to tackle. "A fixation on materialism causes a distorted feeling of deprivation because it stimulates a desire for acquisition simply in order to “keep up with the Joneses”.


"Social media trends and the popularity of Facebook and Twitter may be equally culpable in causing our generation to develop a narcissistic, isolated lifestyle disconnected from reality and meaning."


"Too many of us are preoccupied with this new culture of selfies, celebrity association and a displays of imagined wealth, which invite not only envy but also a revulsion from others. We are taught to fear failure and hate poverty, implying that being poor is shameful and only for losers. Bullying becomes rife, and weakness is preyed upon.


 “Additionally, studies indicate causation between materialism and poor psychological health, and research suggests materialistic individuals are more susceptible to marital discord and fractured friendships.”


But Mr Williams believes that what he does, and the reintroduction of spirituality generally, could reverse these trends and make the world a better place. "Reminding someone that they are not the sum of their possessions is a tall order in a society where so many live for instant gratification and find it difficult to attach existential meaning stretching beyond the fancy car, lavish abode and that much deserved job promotion.


"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."


Mr Williams publishes several magazines and newspapers which are delivered in churches, prisons and rehab centres across the country.


“My experience has been that by delivering beneficial newspaper and magazines through armed forces chaplaincies, a message of hope can be effectively offered and shared. Good communication is a great healer,” he said.


He also stressed that religious magazines must not try to convert vulnerable people.


“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," he added.


“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.”





See article
Publisher Speaks Out Over Churches' 'Rigid' Values When Treating People For Drug And Alcohol Abuse
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).
See article
Sorted Magazine - Wikipedia
25 Nov 2015
'Sorted magazine' and original website Sortedmag.com[1] was first created and launched in the United Kingdom in 2004[2] by Brighton publisher Russell Church.[3] ( That was the year in which an Irish online music magazine by the same name, written as 'Sorted magAZine', ended after an eight-year run from 1996.[4]) The British 'Sorted' was geared to the lads' mag market but failed to establish a strong demographic share, with the debut edition misjudging its potential popularity with a colossal 250,000 print run. Consequently, the original 'Sorted magazine' folded after just four editions leaving staff in Brighton jobless and unpaid.[5]

CreatorRussell Church
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
WebsiteOfficial website

In 2007, children's magician Steve Legg[6] saw an opportunity to relaunch 'Sorted magazine' as a Christian evangelist title aimed at reclaiming a place in the lads' mag marketplace. With a Biblical mission in place, the new look 'Sorted magazine'[7] was distributed ( unofficially ) by a team of evangelist Christian donors to carefully selected HM Forces personnel, as well as to Christian Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centres; although almost all government endorsed 12 Step affiliated treatment centres ( such as RAPt/Forward Trust[8]) rejected the title out of hand, since it aimed to promote Christianity and thus went against the important 12 Step ethos of not branding a religion to an addiction recovery programme. The 'Sorted' relaunch achieved some circulation success through the PR efforts of its Director of Publishing, Duncan Williams [9] ( a former tabloid newspaper exec.[10] and editor with the Christian Free Press ), who was appointed during the post-Leveson Inquiry period when both advertisers and readers seemed to be seeking publications with stronger moral credentials.[11] However, when Williams ( who had begun to openly express views that opposed organised religion's involvement in addiction treatment [12] and then, later on, loudly protested evangelist Christian political support of Donald Trump during a live BBC radio broadcast[13]) left the magazine, it very quickly spiralled into debt and today relies chiefly on church fund raising drives, donations and evangelist bulk subscribers helping to cover costs of a small print run for a dwindling niche market.
ABC audited circulation figures have long ceased and Comag charges a fee to place 'Sorted magazine' on secular newsagent shelves in a bid to aid the illusion of reach.

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ "Teen Web Sites: Tap into the teen market"www.marketingmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  2. Jump up^ O'Sullivan, Sally (2004-01-24). "A taste of Sugar for the boys? Sorted"The GuardianISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  3. Jump up^ THOMPSON, by HUGH. "My big deal: Russell Church". Retrieved2017-08-07.
  4. Jump up^ "Sorted magAZine (1996-2004)"sortedmagazine.com. Retrieved 14 March2016.
  5. Jump up^ "Brighton lads mag Sorted closes after just four issues".
  6. Jump up^ Alliance, Evangelical. "Steve Legg - Editor"Evangelical Alliance. Retrieved2017-08-06.
  7. Jump up^ West, By Ed. "Lad's mags? I must get myself sorted"Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  8. Jump up^ "Home"Become Trust. 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  9. Jump up^ "'Wholesome' men's mag with a Christian slant bucks the trend of circulation decline".
  10. Jump up^ "THE SON"issuu. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  11. Jump up^ "Sorted: a revolution in media | Christian News on Christian Today".www.christiantoday.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  12. Jump up^ "Publisher speaks out over churches' 'rigid' values when treating people for drug and alcohol abuse"Dorset Echo. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  13. Jump up^ Duncan Williams (2016-11-26), BBC Radio : News Editor Duncan Williams Interviewed By Justine Greene (20/11/2016)., retrieved 2017-08-16

External links[edit]

    See article
    POOLE POST - Dorset Community Media Project
    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. 





    See article
    Press Gazette Prediction Proves Correct: Sorted Magazine Goes Down Under!
    22 Jun 2014



    At the start of the year Press Gazette reported the remarkable circulation growth of Sorted magazine. Sorted is a men's lifestyle title published SCM Limited, a small British owned company based in Sussex. The feature contained a number of bold and ambitious announcements.

    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."

    "We are the lad's mag with morals," smiles Williams. " A grown up, wholesome alternative to the tired old 'tissue mag' alternative that had once dominated the news shelves.

    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.

    Crowe appears not only to have endorsed the Sorted brand but to be spearheading its launch in into the Antipodean market.

    For a men's lifestyle title that heralds from Littlehampton in England, this is an impressive first step into another continent.

    One that the international publishing community is sure to watch closely.

    -----

    Duncan Williams will be attending the Marketing Week Live conference at the Olympia Grand, London - 25th - 26th June, 2014. He will be available to answer any questions from advertisers and media buyers.

    See article
    Nuts magazine to close: Have the lads' mags lost?
    02 Apr 2014
    A report by Carey Lodge for ChristianToday.com


    Nuts magazine has announced that it may soon be forced to close following a significant fall in sales.
    A decline in the publishing industry, as well as specific campaigns against magazines carrying sexually explicit content, has meant a huge drop in readership for titles such as Nuts, Zoo and Front, which are primarily aimed at the men's market.
    Pressure groups UK Feminista and Object launched a 'Lose the Lads' Mags' campaign back in May 2013, calling for supermarkets across Britain to stop selling magazines that they argue perpetuate the objectification of women.  And the campaign has only gone from strength to strength.
    "Lads' mags promote sexist attitude and behaviours," the website reads.
    "They normalise the idea that it's acceptable to treat women like sex objects. Yet despite widespread criticism over the years, high-street supermarkets and newsagents have continued to display and sell these degrading and harmful publications. But customers and shop employees don't have to put up with it any longer."



    The Co-operative eventually pulled Zoo and Nuts from its shelves in September of last year after publishers refused to comply with regulations that required them to cover offending magazines up with opaque sleeves.
    The latest news from Nuts comes as its publisher has announced a 30-day consultation with staff about a proposed closure.
    "After ten years at the top of its market, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of Nuts and exit the young men's lifestyle sector," Managing Director Paul Williams says.
    According to The Guardian, Nuts weekly circulation in the latter half of 2013 was just 53,000 - a massive drop from 300,000 during its peak several years ago. The BBC reports that Nuts' readership has fallen by more than 70 per cent over the past eight years.
    Lose the Lads Mags have celebrated this development, sending out a message to supporters that says: "For ten years Nuts has lined supermarket shelves with images portraying women as dehumanised sex objects. The research is all too clear on the consequences of this: attitudes that underpin violence against women."
    Of the possible closure, they add: "It's big news. We thought you'd want to know."
    Duncan Williams, Director of Publishing at Sorted – a wholesome monthly men's magazine that aims to "stimulate the mind rather than the libido" – has also expressed his delight. Bucking the trend of decline, Sorted has doubled its circulation in the past year to 40,000 subscribers.
    "Sorted magazine continues to grow in circulation as rival titles in the men's lifestyle market decline or close altogether," he says.
    "Underpinned with Christian ethics and filled with intelligent interviews and editorial, what was once thought to be a freak niche publication is now proving to be a popular mainstream front runner. As far as the publishing world is concerned, there is a new sheriff in town!"
    Not everyone is quite so pleased, however. Many have noted that the closure of magazines like Nuts and Front does not signify a disinterest in their content, but rather that there is wider and cheaper access to more graphic pornography online. "Hardly a victory really, is it ladies?" writes Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett for The Guardian.



    See article
    Roger Moore Revisits Memories Of His Evacuee Childhood In Launceston, Cornwall
    27 Mar 2014
    Report by Natalie Venning and Ruth Musson for Cornish and Devon Post



    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.

    Roger Moore, well-known as the longest serving actor who played the role of Bond from 1973 to 1985, is soon to be featured in Sorted, published by Son Christian Media Ltd, of which Mr Williams is director of publishing.

    Mr Moore, born October 14, 1927, attended Battersea Grammar School before he was evacuated to Holsworthy during world war two. From there, he attended Launceston College and was then educated at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

    He made his film debut as an extra in 1945, appearing in small roles on stage and in films prior to his service in the army.

    Mr Williams grew up in Launceston and owns land at Holsworthy. His grandfather was vicar at Werrington and later Wadebridge. Mr Williams will be interviewing Mr Moore along with professional biographer Frank Worrall, a St Ives-based author, who helped arrange the profile piece.

    Sorted was established in 2007, after Steve Legg the now editor of the magazine wanted to provide ‘wholesome reading’, offering something different, ethical and faith-based. The magazine looks at success, sports, books, addictions, mentoring and a variety of other topics.

    It has gradually grown as a magazine with the increase of professionalism and celebrity interviews to promote the rise of the readership.

    Mr Legg’s wife Rebekah edits the sister title for women, Liberti.

    The magazines are published six times a year, and in the last year have doubled their circulation to 40,000. They are distributed for free into UK prisons and the armed forces for chaplaincy material, as well as being sold across the UK and various countries as an alternative to ‘lad mags’.

    Mr Williams said: “People have lost trust and faith in the media, we need to win back credibility, not with a law or government legalisation, but by appointing ethical editors and journalists to report news with integrity. These magazines are exactly the type of ethical brands that the post-Leveson and phone hacking weary public, might want to read.
    “Celebrity without depth and shallow interviews, that reveal nothing, are boring readers who now want much more challenging content.

    “The question of faith is no longer such a niche subject but one that many in the public eye are prepared to discuss. Even the question of lack of faith is an interesting basis to build an interview from.

    “Recently the church has become more vocal on political issues, speaking out against poverty and often at the frontline with foodbanks and offering meeting facilities for addiction recovery groups.

    “If the media would keep highlighting these issues and have the courage to report them in favour of trivia, we would really be seeing progressive changes in society.”

    Each edition of the magazine features an interview with a celebrity, with questions focused on faith.

    Mr Moore’s interview is scheduled to be published in a summer edition, and he hopes to evoke memories of his time at Launceston.

    See article
    Tory floods soundbite rebounds on Cameron
    22 Feb 2014
    Report by Dave Sewell

    Floods in Somerset (Pic: Guy Smallman)

    Fierce storms with winds of over 100 miles an hour killed three people last week and left around one million without power.

    Britain’s soil was already saturated with water from the wettest winter in centuries. The additional rain was enough to keep large parts of the Thames Valley, the Somerset Levels and other regions flooded.
    David Cameron tried to put an end to embarrassing in-fighting by pledging that “money is no object” in the government’s response to floods.

    In admitting that Britain is a “rich country” Cameron exposed the lies that he and all the main political parties have used to justify years of austerity.

    But unfortunately his promise to splash the cash evaporated within 24 hours.

    Tory transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin clarified that, “I don’t think it’s a blank cheque”.
    Then Downing Street said any money would have to come out of existing budgets—no new funding was being made available.

    Loans

    So, the £31 million to rebuild rail lines in south west England was already promised last year.
    And up to £750 million of the “help” for flood victims will take the form of loans from RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, Santander and Nationwide.

    Residents of flood-hit areas were furious. “All these politicians who’ve been going round welly-clad to spout their opinions, it’s all just talk,” said Duncan Williams (pictured left) from Chertsey, Surrey.

    The reality is that the Tories slashed funding for food defences by almost £100 million a year.

    Hundreds of projects that were planned after the Pitt review that followed the 2007 floods were cancelled.

    These include ones that would have protected Burrowbridge in Somerset and Yalding in Kent where Cameron was keen to be photographed.

    New Tory guidelines meant that flood defence projects had to guarantee they would prevent an average £8 of damage for every £1 they cost to build.

    The figure was previously £5.

    That effectively ruled out the river-dredging on the Somerset Levels that the Tories are now keen to champion.


    It means that many homes are seen as not worth saving.

    Cameron (pictured right) claimed that more has been spent on floods under the current four year period than in the previous four years. This sleight of hand only works if non-government funding is counted.

    And he has refused to rule out planned job cuts at the Environment Agency.

    Parliament’s committee for climate change warned that £500 million more is needed to make up the shortfall.
    The real cost could be much higher.

    It’s still a tiny fraction of what is wasted on bankers’ bonuses or Trident nuclear weapons.

    But these are the Tories’ priorities, not the environment.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Article first published in Socialist Worker - 22nd Feb, 2014 --

    See article
    Duncan Williams (newspaper executive) - Wikipedia
    14 Feb 2014
    Duncan Williams is a British publisher involved in regional news and sport media. He bought a portfolio of hyper-local newspapers during a period of industry transition[1], where long established titles were closing down and often selling at rock bottom prices.[2] As rapid readership migrations from print to digital took hold, Williams maintained that "the real value investment is in the brand". He is also known for his work within the faith publishing sector[3], where he was involved in the surprise post-Leveson success of a Christian themed magazine[4] named Sorted gaining a foothold within the mainstream and highly competitive lads' mag marketplace.[5]

    References[edit source | edit]

    See article
    Sorted magazine : a revolution in media
    24 Jan 2014
    A report by Carey Lodge of ChristainToday.com



    Despite a decline in the publishing industry and a huge drop in sales for lads' mags, Sorted magazine – aimed primarily at Christian men - is celebrating, having doubled its circulation in the past year from 20,000 to 40,000.

    Editor Steve Legg first came up with the idea of creating a wholesome magazine for men after chatting with another dad at the school gates and discovering that young boys were bringing inappropriate material into school.

    He saw 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.

    The end result was Sorted, which comes out six times a year and is sold in newsagents such as WH Smiths, as well as being made available in bars, gyms, clubs, prisons and waiting areas across the UK. Published by Son Christian Media Ltd, it is also currently sold in 15 other countries globally.

    Steve, a professional evangelist who often uses escapologist displays to communicate the gospel, says: "It's something for men to identify with in a positive way."

    The magazine has proved a hit among those who don't wish to be patronised by the usual offerings aimed at their demographic, which are currently facing pressure from campaigns such as 'No more Page 3' and 'Lose the Lads' Mags'.

    Though the magazine has a Christian basis, it also hopes to reach men from all faiths and walks of life, or indeed no faith at all.

    Director of publishing Duncan Williams notes that the majority of subscribers are not, in fact, Christians. "We have a huge number of subscribers in the Armed Forces and the Royal Navy distribute the magazine in all their mess halls," he explains.


    "Having spoke to chaplaincies, while troops are away they can become very isolated and have no Christian reading material beyond the Bible. Sorted is accessible and real to them. With film reviews and things like that, it lets them know what's going on in the secular world."

    Each edition features a detailed interview with a male celebrity. Past starts include Will Smith, Steve Carrell, Denzel Washington and Michael Caine. It also runs articles about finance, sport, faith, addictions, fitness, mentoring, gadgets and more, not to mention a '60 Second life Coach' and a 'Sex Doc'.

    TV presenter and professional adventurer Bear Grylls, known for his strong faith and endorsement of the Alpha course, also regularly contributes to the magazine. He has labelled it as "down to earth, real [and] un-religious", and says it has "helped my Christian faith so much".

    There is obviously a market for this different kind of men's magazine, revealed by Sorted's growing circulation and subscription rate.

    Of the new increase in readership, Williams says: "Sorted has been an encouraging success, as has our lifestyle title for women, Liberti magazine.

    "The popularity of these two titles has been a real sign that there is a growing readership, male and female and of various ages, that appreciates contemporary Christian publications.
    "I think demand has risen following the hacking scandal to have genuinely positive, trustworthy and ethical reporting, and Christian media provides that.

    "We ask fundamental questions – we ask about faith or lack of it, which gives an interesting angle rather than tapping around celebrity gossip. When David Frost asked Tony Blair 'Do you pray?' it completely flummoxed him. By asking that question to celebrities you get some interesting reactions, and it's been really rewarding to find a different angle to the usual salacious gossip offered by the tabloids."

    The next edition of Sorted featuring Ben Stiller will be published on 18 February.




    See article
    'Wholesome' men's mag with a Christian slant bucks the trend of circulation decline
    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".Publisher and editor Steve Legg says he was inspired to launch Sorted after talking to a dad: “He was telling me how his 11-year-old son's mates were bringing in lads mags and he was complaining at the lack of something more positive and wholesome in the marketplace.”

    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.Williams says: “We try to ask in-depth questions that aren’t the usual PR fair…which produce interesting interviews. Asking that key question about faith is rewarding.”

    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.



    See article
    At the forefront of UK faith news publishing
    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.

    Steve says: “It’s something for men to identify with in a positive way. We have a huge number of subscribers in the Armed Forces and the Royal Navy distribute the magazine in all their mess halls. Having spoke to chaplaincies, while troops are away they can become very isolated and have no Christian reading material beyond the Bible. Sorted is accessible and real to them. With film reviews and things like that, it lets them know what’s going on in the secular world.”

    The content regularly includes celebrity interviews, past stars have included Will Smith, Steve Carrell, Denzel Washington and Michael Caine. As well as finance, sport, faith, fitness, mentoring, gadgets and more.

    Duncan Williams says: “Sorted has been an encouraging success, as has our lifestyle title for women, Liberti magazine. The popularity of these two titles has been a real sign that there is a growing readership, male and female and of various ages, that appreciates contemporary Christian publications. I think demand has risen following the hacking scandal to have genuinely positive, trustworthy and ethical reporting, and Christian media provides that.

    “We ask fundamental questions – we ask about faith or lack of it, which gives an interesting angle rather than tapping around celebrity gossip. When David Frost asked Tony Blair ‘Do you pray?’ it completely flummoxed him. By asking that question to celebrities you get some interesting reactions, and it’s been really rewarding to find a different angle to the usual salacious gossip offered by the tabloids.”



    For more details visit: WWW.THE-SON.CO.UK

    WWW.SORTED-MAGAZINE.COM

    WWW.LIBERTIMAGAZINE.COM

    See article
    About Duncan Williams
    01 Aug 2013
    Faith In Positive Stories

    What kind of stories do you like to read in the news?

    Stories about success and celebration? Or stories about tragedy and the misfortune of others?

    Most people would surely prefer to read uplifting stories that are well written and that aim to educate and inspire.

    But unfortunately, when you take a look at your daily newspaper each morning, you may notice that the main headlines all focus on negativity.

    Nowadays, column inches seem to be packed full of the woes of celebrities, the failures of politicians, the depressing overview of the economic climate. Even worse, these stories of gloom are often reported with an amount of glee on behalf of the journalist. The articles are often poorly written and do not educate nor inspire positive change in the life of the reader or society in general.

    But wouldn’t it be nice 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?

    This is exactly what Duncan Williams, a Director of Son Christian Media Ltd., aims to achieve. He really does believe in the power of a good story.

    “A good story does as it says on the tin; It reports a truthful, inspiring message. Maybe sheds a little light on some gloom… or draws attention to somebody or something worthwhile. The story’s power lies in the fact that through its reporting it seeks to encourages more of the same” said Williams.

    Improving Society With Positive Media

    Duncan Williams hopes to increase the well-being of society with positive media.

    “Marginalised elements of society often find it hard to access or express views in the mainstream media. Broadly speaking there is a trade in sensationalism and death. A tragic killing gets a mass of column inches and airtime, whereas the celebration of a human life gets far less. A birthday of a 100 year old citizen deserves as much, if not more attention, than the gleeful reporting of yet more doom and gloom. Coverage should always aim to be personal and real. Profiles of people should aim to help readers identify and feel a part of the story rather than apart from it. Ten years of revised media attitudes could have a remarkably beneficial effect upon society.”

    A good story does not necessarily have to be an uplifting story of celebration. A tragic story can also be a good story.

    In the reporting of a tragic story the reader demands that there be a point and a purpose to the way the story is told. From a tragedy people can still learn something that will help them in life. 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 a good motive to override a bad one; it’s what best assists group survival” states Williams.

    Good Stories Sell

    A good story is also advantageous from a business perspective. Good stories sell.

    Duncan Williams believes that advertisers would much rather have an ad for their product displayed next to a positive story than alongside a story full of gloom and negativity. An uplifting story will shed the product in a more positive light. The reader will also be in a more positive mood as a result of the story and thus more receptive to advertisements on the page.

    “If you were a newspaper advertiser would you want to promote your product or service next to an article about something dark and negative or positive and uplifting? Positive wins through.” he said.

    Creating A More Positive Society

    Son Christian Media Ltd. is about more than just profiting from uplifting stories. Duncan Williams believes 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.” he states.

    Duncan Williams wants to see more stories about the celebration of human life. Stories that help readers identify and feel part of the story rather than apart from it. He believes that ten years of revised media attitudes could have a remarkably beneficial effect upon society.

    The Future Of Positive Media

    As Duncan Williams continues to turn around the fortunes of magazines and newspapers, the amount of quality content in the media is only going to increase.

    In 10 years’ time you may well get to take a look at your morning newspaper and read a good story that not only informs you, but educates you, and inspires you, and enriches your life. Wouldn’t that make a nice change?





    Duncan Williams - Professional Summary:     Faith publisher, theologian and broadcaster.


    Duncan Williams - Professional Experience:    BBC radio, Media@HTB, ecumenical communications lecturer.


    Duncan Williams - Education:     Launceston College, University of London, School of Economic Science.


    Duncan Williams - Interests:     Religious education, practical philosophy, tabloid newspapers and countryside walks.




    See article
    Culture Footprint Interview - 6th July, 2010
    06 Jul 2010
    Forum for Change
    Culture Footprint
    Meet
    Duncan Williams
    Media Entrepreneur

    Welcome to Culture Footprint, featuring one of the people of God making a difference in the world today, aiming to be an inspiring presence and telling the story of Christ in the culture. Interviewed by Marijke Hoek for the Evangelical alliance.
    Duncan Williams is a Director on the board of Independent News Ltd. Buying up formerly loss making regional newspapers, fast tracking them into profit, Duncan has gained a portfolio of titles launched specifically at improving communication within local communities. He was born in Plymouth. His grandfather was a local vicar in Cornwall.

    He likes old creaky films (Cliffhanger Serials from the 1930s and ‘40s, George Formby or Will Hay comedies and Hammer horror films), travel, meeting new people, understanding cultures and belief systems. He has a lifelong passion for the sea and if possible would like to run his media 'empire' from a boat; "Just like a James Bond villain”, jokes his family. 
    As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
    A Pirate or a Timelord.

    How did you get involved in the media?
    I edited my school magazine and continued to write in my spare time. I attended Launceston College, won a place at the London International Film School and continued studying media and communications technology at Merton College, the London Electronics College and London University .
    University of Life , though, is where I got the most results... I started work as a 'runner' for Goldcrest films in Soho at £80 per week. Went on to get a slightly better paid job in advertising, writing copy and scripts.  As the press started to pioneer their digital presence I was offered a job on a national newspaper and magazine title.    I learnt how advertising funded much of modern media, built a healthy book of contacts and realised that this same funding source could be approached to invest in positive media publishing...


    What is the power of a good story?
    A good story does as it says on the tin; It reports a truthful, inspiring message. Maybe sheds a little light on some gloom...  or draws attention to somebody or something worthwhile.  The story's power lies in the fact that through its reporting it seeks to encourages more of the same...

    Does good news sell? 
    Put it this way, if you were a newspaper advertiser would you want to promote your product or service next to an article about something dark and negative or positive and uplifting? Positive wins through.  Even in reporting a tragic story the reader demands a point and purpose to the retelling. It's human nature to want a good motive to override a bad one; it's what best assists group survival.

    Can entrepreneurship create a better world?
    During this period of time, with the economy as bad as it is, real entrepreneurs are vital to the world economy. This is reflected in the huge interest shown in programmes like Dragon's Den, American Inventor, The Apprentice and now even The Young Apprentice.  Entrepreneurs have an unshakable faith in the future; they have positive ideas and inspire others.  They create jobs and are a hub for economic growth.

    What is your most treasured possession?
    My left hand.  I nearly lost it, along with all my fingers, following a gory incident some years ago. Fortunately, after a lot of surgery, the fingers were sewn back together and the mangled mitt was saved.  They are all now present and just about correct... and appreciated that much more by me!

    Martin Luther King Jr had a dream for society. What is yours?
    Often whatever society fixates upon it tends to get more of.  So by offering a more positive media I genuinely believe we get 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.

    What is the greatest challenge you face in media enterprise?
    Balancing ethics, readership sales and advertiser revenue to produce long term profitability.

    What do you invest in the next generation?
    Training, time and experience. Interns from universities such as Oxford , London and Plymouth have all been integral to bringing in new talent, helping to keep our titles fresh and current. One lucky graduate even got a placement reporting at the recent Cannes Film Festival.

    What is your most/least green credential?
    I try and walk, where practical, everywhere. In fact, as my journalists will tell you, many an editorial meeting is held 'on the hoof' with me striding from one meeting onto the next, often held streets away.    However, my least green credential is my liking for McDonald's cheese burgers, so I sometimes stop off along the way...

    How can the media increase wellbeing in society over the next decade?
    Marginalised elements of society often find it hard to access or express views in the mainstream media.  Broadly speaking there is a trade in sensationalism and death. A tragic killing gets a mass of column inches and airtime, whereas the celebration of a human life gets far less.  A birthday of a 100 year old citizen deserves as much, if not more attention, than the gleeful reporting of yet more doom and gloom.  Coverage should always aim to be personal and real.  Profiles of people should aim to help readers identify and feel a part of the story rather than apart from it.  Ten years of revised media attitudes could have a remarkably beneficial effect upon society.

    Tell us a joke...
    A local news vendor was standing on the corner with a stack of papers, yelling: "Read all about it. Fifty people swindled! Fifty people swindled!"
    Curious, a man walked over, bought a paper, and checked the front page. Finding nothing, the man said, "There's nothing in here about fifty people being swindled." The news vendor ignored him and went on, calling out, "Read all about it. Fifty-one people swindled!"



    See article
    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. 

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