This is a website about sports journalism, for sports journalists, and by sports journalists.
When the Sports Journalists’ Association was formed in a pub off Fleet Street in 1948, its handful of founders could not have envisaged how the business – our business – would change over the coming decades. And the SJA has endeavoured to adapt and grow to reflect those changes.
This has been especially important in recent years, when the rate of change in the media has been faster than ever before.
The SJA’s forefathers had to contend with the “Ration Book Olympics” in 1948, with its make-do-and-mend stadiums and an Olympic Village in disused barrack huts.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, we worked alongside 10,000 busy colleagues from around the world in an Olympic Park built with a £9.3 billion budget. We liaised with LOCOG on the media facilities on offer, some of our members worked behind the scenes in the press offices, and one of our number served as media liaison for the British Olympic Association.
The SJA has been involved with the organisers of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the rugby World Cups (in both codes) and world championships in a variety of sport, advising on a range of issues, from accreditation to facilities on offer to our members and colleagues.
The SJA website tries to reflect the changes in our business in its daily news coverage, while also supporting the organisation’s ever-increasing range of activities.
The SJA’s major awards ceremonies each year are the SJA British Sports Awards, first staged in 1949 and therefore the oldest sports awards in Britain, with the Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year selected by a vote of SJA members; and our SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, where we recognise excellence in our own profession.
The SJA also produces a comprehensive yearbook which includes profiles of all members, and which is distributed to everyone within our rapidly growing membership, plus major sports desks and the country’s leading PR agencies.
Our other events include headline-making lunches with leading figures from sport, plus occasional Sporting Question Times, and outright social events at golf, cricket and horse racing.
We issue email updates to our members covering the Association’s activities and the latest news in sports journalism. We also provide training and careers advice and act as consultants to the organisers of major sporting events on media requirements.
Membership of the SJA embraces all branches of the business, but is still strictly restricted to British-based professional journalists. Students, PRs and others who are interested in SJA membership but perhaps do not quite fulfil all the requirements are invited to apply for associate membership.
We are also the exclusive gate-keepers in Britain of the coveted AIPS card. AIPS, the international federation of national sports associations, enjoys close relationships with governing bodies like FIFA, Uefa, and the IAAF and is recognised all over the world, especially in Europe. The only way to join AIPS is via the SJA.
Look for us on Facebook and Twitter @SportSJA
“It is desirable that an association of sporting journalists be formed”
With that formal statement the first seed of the Sports Writers’ Association was sown in November 1947. Six representatives of the national sporting press made the decision over lunch and five of them formed an exploratory committee that met in a Fleet Street pub two days before Christmas.
On April 15, 1948, the Association was founded, with 21 members, one of whom, Peter Bryan, remains a member today.
The first annual dinner was held in 1949 (for men only) and the following year the first ballot was held among members, by then numbering nearly 100, to determine which six men had contributed most to Britain’s international sporting prestige – still the criterion on which annual awards are made.
Sportswomen were similarly honoured at a separate function in 1959, and were permanently included from the end of 1963. Since then the celebration of awards to the Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year have been attended by most of the great sports stars of the day. and guests of honour have included prime ministers and members of the royal family. The 1998 Golden Jubilee awards night was patronised by HRH the Princess Royal – her fourth appearance at the dinner.
The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details