UK Shooting News has grown remarkably in audience terms in the 13 months it’s been operating. It’s about time I reflected that with the style, tone and content on here.
UKSN started as a blog. It is very much still a blog, though I notice that more and more readers are treating it as an authoritative source of news. Perhaps that’s because it’s free to view and easily shared via social media such as Facebook, unlike traditional print shooting magazines, or perhaps that’s because of the writing style, which is 100% newsman’s English.
On average, over the last six months UKSN reached an average of about 19,250 unique visitors per month (and if I discount October, which was a quiet month in terms of output, that average increases quite a bit). Those unique visitors are what makes doing this worthwhile, and it’s vitally important those visitors leave here more informed than when they clicked in.
Up until now I’ve not shied away from being a bit alarmist when I think it’s needed: you may agree or disagree with my view of certain things, but at least you know what’s going on in our world after following my links to my sources.
However, it will no longer do for me to simply raise questions about a new law, or point out a way in which I think it could be misused, or whatever – I need to be finding answers to the questions and scenarios I think of and providing a fuller picture.
I’ll still be writing what I think but I’ll be doing it while actively seeking as much relevant comment as I can, rather than relying solely on reproducing what’s issued by government, police and others. Granted, the government makes it deliberately hard for journalists working via email alone to contact their press offices, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
Police, you say? Yes. Despite my inherent distrust of the police and their motives, on the firearms licensing side they’re not all evil gun-grabbers. Indeed, CC Andy Marsh, despite his determination to foist the shop-a-gun-owner hotline on the licensed firearms community (the phrase ‘licensed firearms community’, by the way, was coined by him), was good enough to personally answer a series of questions I sent to ACPO more in hope than expectation of a reply. He is the “ACPO spokesman” quoted at length there. As ACPO is no longer trading under that name, and Marsh is no longer chairman of FELWG, there’s no harm in revealing that now. Indeed, I was a bit confused as to why ACPO insisted I couldn’t name him; his responses were both human and insightful, and put a face and name to FELWG instead of the ‘faceless bureaucratic machine’ image that police organisations love to cultivate.
Anyway, without waffling on for too long, I’ll be upping my game a bit on UKSN from now on. Instead of just blogging about things – pointing out a new development, adding my personal spin to it, and publishing that – I’ll be getting a bit more professional.
The flip side of all this is that better quality posts take longer to prepare, and by the very nature of asking others for comment, things will inevitably slow down. UKSN is still very much a one-man-and-his-blog operation, and I do this in my spare time – a few minutes snatched at lunch or coffee breaks at work, or a quiet evening, or whenever.
That said, I’m also looking at options to commercialise UKSN so I make a return on the time and effort I’m putting in, reading and interpreting all these minutes and laws and so on. You won’t find tweed jacket reviews here (it’s a coat, it keeps the rain off, it keeps the warmth in, etc ad nauseam) but if you want to advertise your shooting business, or get some top-notch copy written for your shooting company’s marketing efforts – or want your existing copy spiced up by a professional wordsmith – get in touch.