of the world's first positive newspaper passes away.
decades Shauna Crockett-Burrows pioneered a new approach to
journalism by focusing on the good in the world and reporting the positive
changes taking place. In 1993 she began Positive News; a unique
newspaper that has had an immeasurable impact, with each article bringing
hope and inspiration to thousands of readers. With every issue, people’s
perspectives shifted, new initiatives were sparked and ideas about what
kind of world was possible, expanded.
As an editor,
Shauna, who has died at the age of 81 after a short illness, sought
to empower people to realise humanity’s potential. Fundamentally, it was
her belief in the interconnectedness and sacredness of all life that
fuelled her drive to create a better world.
did not live to know that she was in fact under consideration for an
honours award from the Queen. Earlier in the year however, she had
accepted an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, which
she was due to attend at the end of May.
away on 3 May 2012 in Shropshire. She had lived just outside the
market town of Bishop’s Castle for 17 years, in a small and
charming rural cottage with a garden that she loved dearly – and
which at one time gained her a local gardening award.
Brighton on 1 June 1930, Shauna attended Worthing High School for
Girls before leaving for London to become an actress (a term she preferred
to ‘actor’) with the Children’s Film Foundation. During the 1950s
Shauna also worked as a model, and it was at this time that she met
her first husband.
moved to Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, where they raised two daughters,
and Shauna began promoting the work of local artists, sometimes giving
over the family home as an exhibition space.
when a road was proposed along the route of the River Adur, Shauna
formed Save Our Saltings, a successful local campaign against the
plans. The Adur estuary is now managed by the ,
while her campaigning at that time led her to become an independent local
on to work for the Arts Council before establishing Shoreham Youth
Workshop in 1970, a charity that organised arts and drama projects
for young people.
remarried in the late 1970s, Shauna travelled extensively with her second
husband. A pivotal moment in her life then arrived when she visited a spiritual
and sustainable community in Scotland; the Findhorn Foundation. It was
here that Shauna “woke up,” as she would later describe it, to a more
holistic understanding of the world and a greater sense of life
purpose. It was her experience at Findhorn that would catalyse her desire
to serve humanity, which found its expression through Positive News.
Shauna was honoured as a Findhorn Fellow, having developed ongoing
links with the community.
beginning her publishing career, Shauna’s next enterprise involved
growing and drying herbs, which she used to create products that were sold
at Anita Roddick’s first incarnation of The Body Shop, in Hove. As an
early proponent of natural approaches to maintaining health and wellbeing,
Shauna also had a spot on local radio talking about the uses of herbs.
By the early
1980s, Shauna had moved to the Cotswolds and established her first
publication, Link Up. Created from her kitchen table, Link Up was a newsletter
to connect people with a spiritual conviction and an interest in
ideas and issues outside of mainstream debate.
approach of her early publications set the tone for what was to come in
Positive News; in a 1989 edition of Link Up she wrote: “As a magazine,
we choose to focus on the many things that are working in the world rather
than emphasising the things that are not; but at the same time, we
acknowledge the truth … and see what positive action can be taken.”
Link Up grew
from a local publication into a full colour national magazine
before changing its name to Global Link Up in 1990 and Planetary Link Up
in 1992. The following year it was replaced by a new publication,
Planetary Connections. Already launched in the by
Michael Lightweaver, Shauna partnered with Michael to establish a edition.
It was 1993,
the year after the first Earth Summit, and Planetary Connections was
Shauna’s first publication on newsprint. When the edition
failed to thrive, Michael handed the full operation to Shauna. In the
meantime, Jane Taylor, who had a background in television journalism,
joined the paper as news editor (before continuing as associate editor and
a co-director until 2008). By issue 10, in 1995, Shauna had moved to
Shropshire and the paper’s name was changed to Positive News.
was tremendous. A letter from a young woman in Wales was
typical; she wrote: “I had given up newspapers when I discovered
Positive News. Your paper has given me hope for the future and the future
of my 18-month-old son — please send me 200 copies to distribute in my
area, there is such a great need.”
its focus on the grassroots, Positive News – which like its predecessors
was printed quarterly – developed a unique distribution network.
Its dedicated readers donated the cost of postage and packing to receive
bundles of the paper, which they then spread far and wide and the
circulation soon averaged more than 50,000 copies.
were specialist magazines, Positive News was providing a unique
snapshot of what was happening across diverse fields of interest that were
yet to be approached by the mainstream press, such as new economics,
organic agriculture and renewable energy, as well as covering the positive
side of current affairs.
received The Schumacher Award in 1998, which honours people and grassroots
organisations in the who
are working to transform society. She was also recognised as one of the
World’s Inspirational Women in 2007 as part of a project created by
human rights campaigner Zerbanoo Gifford, which, through a book of
interviews and an exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery, documented
influential women working for a more just and peaceful world.
At this time,
Shauna was also publishing Living Lightly, a magazine for Positive
News subscribers, and instigated the launch of sister editions of Positive
News in Spain, Hong Kong and the in
2004, and in Argentina in 2007.
shortly after establishing Positive News, Shauna founded Global News
Education Trust (later renamed Positive News Trust), a charity
promoting the achievements and ideas of young people and giving them
opportunities to gain experience in the media. The trust supported
Positive Youth News, a supplement in Positive News between 2006 and
2010, while Shauna also co-published an annual educational magazine titled
Ethos, which ran for two issues.
As well as
offering numerous in-house training opportunities for young people, in
2008 Shauna fundraised and established a short residential course in
positive journalism for 16–18 year olds, in conjunction with the Arvon
Shauna was 63
when she launched Positive News and remained editor-in-chief right up
until she died, a month short of her 82nd birthday. Breaking any
convention of what senior years should entail, she was renowned for her
strong will, fiery independence and endless energy. Shauna
Crockett-Burrows was a media revolutionary, and a steadfast
light in the world.
Shauna is survived by her two daughters, Siobhan Scott and Jo Crockett, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
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