Unique Interviews John Duns – North East Times

How did you get into publishing?

I was always a very keen reader of books, magazines and newspapers when growing up. My parents took up to four papers on a Sunday and I read voraciously.

So, aged 21, I applied to Thomson Regional Newspapers and was fortunate to join as a trainee advertising sales executive after some very tough interviews.

I worked initially on The Newcastle Journal dealing with existing advertising clients and trying to find new ones. I rapidly realised two things. First, the benefits of well-designed creative advertising and second that you need to understand what a client’s business objectives are before you can really help them. It was a great thrill when I saw advertising campaigns that I had initiated appear in print.

Who or what inspires you?

Clever people, inspiring people, and resilient people. I had a very clever and inspiring manager in my newspaper days called John McManners. He was full of memorable ideas, and he brought a different perspective to the very fast moving world of advertising and selling. He was great at building lasting relationships.

My own father was an inspiration to me. He encouraged me to get on in business, to read widely and he had a very competitive streak in sport that I have inherited!

Finally, the creative talent of the team at North East Times is very inspiring to me.

We’ve really built a strong regional brand over the last 7 years, and I’m pleased that I invested in the business. Its potential is ever increasing.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into publishing?

You must absolutely love it!

It’s fast paced, things go well one minute – then challenging the next. Whether in print or online, you need to get excited about good content. If you don’t, you’re in the wrong business. It excites me that I’m working in the industry that has changed the world since that printing press was invented 500 years ago. Prior to the printing press information was held in the hands of the few – the very rich and the church. It’s impact led to ideas being disseminated all over the world.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Can I name two?

One is seeing a story idea I have generated in print or online. The other is dealing with our clients.

We’re fortunate to have a diverse group of business people who are a pleasure to work with across many sectors from education to engineering, recruitment to health and IT to wealth management.

What are your favourite magazines?

I like political comment with humour and wit so Private Eye and The Spectator are favourites. I sometimes read The New Statesman.

I also pick up Golf Digest online and occasionally History Today.

To be honest, if I see a nice magazine on any subject of interest, I’ll pick it up.

With most things going digital these days, what’s do you think the future is for printed magazines?

There’s a long-term future for magazines in the right niche. The Spectator has reached its highest print sale since 1828. It’s been achieved, ironically by digital marketing!

 What’s the future hold for John Duns?

Continue to work with the team to grow, develop and extend the North East Times brand. We’re currently working on several exciting initiatives that the pandemic had put on hold.