The SJA website, sportsjournalists.co.uk, has received more than 3.2 million “hits” in the first full 12 months since its re-launch in 2006.
The Association’s activities – from its annual Sports Awards and the SJA Sports Journalism Awards, through to its lunches and golf days, as well as news of its members’ job changes – as reported on the website are now being seen by an average of nearly 2,000 visitors every day, according to web statistics which measure the “traffic” to the site.
Last month alone, there were more than 370,000 hits on the website, an average of nearly 12,000 per day, demonstrating that the SJA is attracting attention from throughout the online journalism community around the world.
“The web is a vital tool to help us communicate with all our members, and with journalist colleagues more generally,” Steven Downes, the SJA Secretary, said.
“But as we develop the website, we are also able to use it to help us run the Association more easily – posting important documents and forms on the site for our members to either complete online or to print off and action.”
In the past year, the SJA has introduced online voting for the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, a feature of the website which will be repeated in 2007. Also available online have been membership forms and a bank mandate for members to pay their annual subscriptions, the SJA Yearbook profile form, and booking forms for tickets for the SJA’s two gala occasions.
But as well as easing any admin that members might have to complete, the website has also reached out to members, with e-mail updates available to all members with active e-mail addresses. This allowed the Association’s committee to make a key decision earlier this year, saving the SJA thousands of pounds in postage costs, as it moved to a system of quarterly Bulletins, produced by former chairman Peter Wilson, to replace the previous newsletters.
The site has also offered the Association a means of generating new income through advertising, with discount offers for computers, free phone deals, and special offers for online betting. “Our members can now support the Association simply by clicking on the ads we have on the website and ordering their new laptop or registering for a new credit card, because the SJA will benefit directly from any such business,” Downes said.
“We hope that the general interest in sports journalism – how sport is covered, the news of accreditation requirements and press conferences, press releases from our partners, such as UK Sport, and other sports bodies, plus news of vacancies within the industry, all updated daily on the website – will continue to serve our members, and also help to put into the public domain our activities and so help recruit new members,” he said.
A second phase in the development of sportsjournalists.co.uk is expected to be launched shortly, aimed at appealling to a new generation of sports writers and photographers, all of whom are more “web savvy” than their elders. The SJA has already established its own group page on the web social networking site, Facebook.
“With the Association’s 60th anniversary in 2008, as well as it being an Olympic year, and in the countdown to London 2012, we expect that the attention on sports journalists, and their work, will be keener than ever.”
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