As 2020 comes to an end, let’s look at how this year went for the UK Defence Journal.

We’ve implemented new submission guidelines, we’ve started using a proper comment system allowing people to discuss articles, we’ve started publishing a great deal more analysis pieces from a wide range of people from enthusiasts to serving and former personnel.

We’ve been cited in Parliament, by think tanks and even in academia. Members of our team have appeared on TV, radio and other formats to discussion current events and, up until the pandemic, we continued to attend industry events and receive invites from the armed forces to have a look at new kit or what it is that they do.

We’ve managed all of this with zero outside funding. We spend our own money on the website, on travel and on any other costs.

We’re not a company and we’re not a business, we’re a loose association of writers putting work into the website as and when we have the time to do so.

The UK Defence Journal has no affiliation to any party or political group, our members are drawn from across the political spectrum and we’re very proud of that.

What is the purpose of the UK Defence Journal?

Our name is important to who we want to be, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a ‘Journal’ as: A newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity”.

I personally believe that we can work harder towards meeting that definition in a more professional way, despite being volunteers. We pride ourselves on being a team of volunteers, we’re not paid or funded by anyone.

Our team is composed of defence professionals, cyber security and international relations graduates, serving and former military personnel, industry specialists as well as everyday military and defence enthusiasts.

We want to provide daily news articles from a wide range of defence related topics and sources and we want to explain why that news matters in the grand scheme of things. Our goal here is to provide one place to find an array of different news items from different defence topics.

We also want to publish topical, high quality and well researched analysis pieces.

We want these articles to be accessible to Joe Public, as informing the public on defence matters is our primary aim.

What did we want to do with 2020?

A quick summary of our objectives for this year is displayed below, but did we reach them?

  1. Our first objective was that a wider group of writers will publish daily news articles with more analysis and opinion built in to them, as well as making sure we follow up tips and leads.

    Done – We’ve ‘taken on’ three new regular writers this year.

  2. The second objective was for the team to publish more lengthy and in-depth analysis articles on topical issues, aiming for at least one per month in addition to our news articles.

    Done – We publish an analysis piece at least once per month with no impact to news article numbers. There is scope however to increase this, so we will.

  3. The third objective was for the submissions process to be easier, making it clearer what we can and cannot publish.

    Done – We’ve created submission guidelines so people understand how it’s done and what can and cannot be submitted.

  4. The fourth objective was for our social media accounts to behave more professionally, arguing with trolls will stop.

    Failed – This needs more work, the temptation to engage with people is very high. Especially when we’re ’77 brigade spies’, at least according to some parts of Twitter anyway. This needs more work.

  5. The fifth objective was to remain politically neutral and only comment on events, such as referendums, when it’s directly defence related.

    Done – We now double check everything that goes out in order to make sure it’s neutral.

What’s next?

As said previously, our habit of engaging with people on Twitter intending to ‘troll’ us has to stop and also been reflecting poorly on our image. This will stop and instead become the domain of accounts created to correct defence myths and misconceptions.

Many have also pointed out we have a lack of writers, with most of the content being written by three or four people. While we do have a team of close to 10 people, the volunteer nature of submissions means they come in sporadically. To try and fix this, we’ll be putting out more calls for writers from a wide range of backgrounds.

2021 will see the UK Defence Journal refresh its look, increase the quality (and type) of content we publish. There are also a number of currently secret side projects being considered.

We will remain entirely free, there will be no subscriptions. We do have adverts and those are used to fund the website running costs, they don’t pay our wages as we all have day jobs for that purpose.

Whatever the next year brings, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy what we publish and I sincerely hope that you’ll let me know if you have any suggestions.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all,
George Allison

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago

Bravo George and the team. Thank you for enabling us enthusiasts and current and ex military to comment and discuss shared interests on here.

David Barry
David Barry
6 months ago

Thank you George and the team, have a happy and safe Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
6 months ago

Another great year, and thank you for the opportunity to be a little part of it.

Herodotus
6 months ago

Some really interesting articles this year. I have learnt a lot from some of UKDJ’s expert contributors 🙂

Paul Tootill
Paul Tootill
6 months ago

Your Journal is one of my ‘go tos’ for correct and unbiased defence news. The team is obviously working hard on our behalf and for that, thank you. Merry Christmas to all.

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul Tootill
Matt
Matt
6 months ago

Thanks for the update and great job to the team.
One thing I miss from the comments section was the ability to see unread messages in yellow when I return to the page.
It was good to see at a glance the new messages to quickly catch up with the conversations.
I hope that makes a return.
Again, thanks for all the hard work going into the site.
[email protected]

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
6 months ago

UKDJ an excellent source of information with great content and and due to comments section provides an amusing escape into Blumhouse Fantasy island territory ???.

Hopefully next year we can have the baw bag subject of Scots independence brought up in every post not just the current 80% of posts????

Achtung Baby ???????????

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago

Funny you should bring that up !

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Aye exactly see in 2021 if we can go more than 10 articles without somebody from doon sooth bringing that shite up again ???? but just wait I can see it now all the articles like

India to launch space probe ………
Russian jets fly near artic…….
RN to adopt Mexican spicy ration packs…..

Some daft Kent will find a way to mention it ?

?????????

Andy P
Andy P
6 months ago

Thank you to all involved for providing the articles, also the platform to discuss them. Some interesting and educational stuff.

Hope you all have a good festive thingummy and a great 2021.

geoff
geoff
6 months ago

One of my daily fixes. Thanks George and team for a wonderful site and the chance to discuss mutual interests with men(and women?) who know what they are talking about. My new years resolution is to not get riled up about anything to do with Ireland, to remain on subject and, er, to be a better person.
All the Best for Christmas and the New Year from a hot and humid Durban, colony of Natal 🙂

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
6 months ago

Big congratulations. Many of us fully understand the sacrifice and hassle that comes from doing this sort of undertaking. Some people like to moan, but other just get on and and try to do something constructive. More power to your elbows.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
6 months ago

Excellent work. Many thanks. A Peaceful and Happy season’s greetings to one and all.

julian1
julian1
6 months ago

A great read and source of info. Happy Christmas to all the writers, contributors, readers and trolls. Yes, even the trolls!

Ian
Ian
6 months ago

Thank you George … only found your site this year ….. very informative for a none military man….the knowledge in the relies is impressive…… good luck in the new year
Every one stay safe in these strange times
Have a Great Christmas and Happy new year
Ian

Ian
Ian
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Replies……I hate predictive text….

john melling
john melling
6 months ago

Been a good year and during the Coronavirus, lockdowns etc for me the website has been a good filler for the daily chores.
Great content and we have seen some great advances in UK Defence, vigorously discussed.

Long may it continue ;P

JM

Last edited 6 months ago by john melling
A&Daccountant
A&Daccountant
6 months ago

Going from strength to strength, well done UKDJ. I check the site nearly every day.

Patrick
Patrick
6 months ago

Thanks for all the hardwork!

Andy
Andy
6 months ago

So I always enjoy UKDJ so many thanks George and your team….from me…

Phil
Phil
6 months ago

Well done chaps! You guys do a great job! I read you stuff every day?

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Frank62
Frank62
6 months ago

It’s very impressive what you acheive on an amatueur basis. I’m very grateful.

Damo
Damo
6 months ago

Beat defence site around in my opinion. The comments are the icing on the cake. I learn so much

Joe16
Joe16
6 months ago

Just wanting to echo what has already been said below, thank you and well done to the UKDJ team! UKDJ is one of 3 sites that I open every morning to see what has happened in 24 hours.
The vast majority of defence sites are US-focussed and it’s great to have somewhere that provides up to date, non-sensationalist news and analysis on UK defence. Having an opportunity to then discuss in the comments section is also great. Good stuff, will be looking forward to what comes in 2021.

Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago

I can also Echo the thoughts of Others and Thank George and the Team for the Running and the Content of UKDJ through what has been a Very Challenging Year.A Year in which im sure the Majority of us Were Unable to Persue or Take Part in Our Own Interests for Obvious Reasons,the Internet has been ( to me at least ) a bit of a Saviour,Seasons Greetings and a Happy 2021 to All on here,be Good and Stay Safe.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
6 months ago

If I have a suggestion on how you could improve UKDJ it would be to stop the practice of putting out different posts that say the same thing. For example you have two posts up now, ‘UK reveals post-Brexit military co-operation with the EU’ and ‘Britain is keystone of European security says defence secretary’ which are basically copies of each other. Other than that, keep up the good work. BZ.

HMS Monarch
HMS Monarch
6 months ago

Another good year!

Mike O
Mike O
6 months ago

Great work guys. I admire this site and the work that must go into it. ?

Merry Christmas and a happy New year!

Phil
Phil
6 months ago

I put a good comment why did it not come up?

Phil
Phil
6 months ago
Reply to  Phil

Anyway well done chaps for all you do. Really good quality stuff.

Crabfat
Crabfat
6 months ago

Huge thanks to you, George, and your colleagues, for your brilliant UKDJ blog – it has never failed to educate, inform and entertain us throughout the years. Best wishes to you and the team for 2021. Keep going, mate!

DRS
DRS
6 months ago

Thanks you for all your hard work. This is my daily got to site. Learned lots and hopefully becomes a reference for those in power to help them sanity check their direction, like a couple of other places like STRN and over the pond the drive and defense news. I quite like that we even have the odd Russian contributor in the comments here too to give a different perspective on things.

Very good content and contributions from all.