My small SOS conundrum
I don’t know that this rises to the level of requiring a post. Here goes nothing.
You may have noticed over the past several weeks that events for the Save Oakland Sports booster group have shown up in the calendar. Normally the calendar is reserved for events such as City Council meetings, MLB owners meetings, and other generally newsmaking dates. Save Oakland Sports has made news recently by getting started, organizing, and planning or being involved with additional events such as next week’s fundraiser. That’s good, I encourage that sort of activity.
Yesterday, one of the principals for SOS asked me to link to an article in the Tribune that featured the group. It seemed more like a profile piece than something with real news or in-depth analysis, so I held off until I was asked again by the same individual, at which point I added the link to the 9/6 news post.
I’m a little concerned that I’m effectively providing free promotion and publicity to SOS, even though they’ve barely begun their work and aren’t newsmakers the same way a team owner, elected official, or league executive might be. I think I’ve given SOS plenty of coverage by attending and writing up a visit to one of the group’s meetings. SOS also has a link in the sidebar. That’s more than I can say for the Baseball Oakland and Baseball San Jose groups, whose output has generally been lacking and little more than talking points.
Moreover, SOS doesn’t operate in a fully public manner. While I attended SOS with no incident and Jeffrey has been invited to do the same, the group doesn’t post meeting minutes publicly, not even in a redacted or edited form. I was taken off SOS’s email list after some members felt that I couldn’t be trusted, though no one bothered to explain that to me until after I noticed it and mentioned the removal in a post.
From the beginning this site was built to analyze and report news. Should a booster group be given the space of a newsmaker when they, for the most part, don’t generate news? It may seem like splitting hairs, but I’m worried about setting a bad precedent. Given that one of the heads of SOS is a PR man, he or others can easily get column inches at one of the local papers, even though there’s no new story there. Should I link to every one of those stories? Should I put SOS items on the calendar even though we don’t know what’s happening? If a San Jose booster group had similar activities, should I treat them the same way out of a strained “equal time” sort of fairness? I’m uncomfortable with the idea of giving free pub to anyone more than is merited, and I’d like reader feedback.
FWIW – this is not about an extra effort that’s required to maintain the calendar or write a post. That’s minimal.
Post your opinion in the comments, and thanks in advance.