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.

34 thoughts on “My small SOS conundrum

  1. My thoughts:
    .
    PR for PRs sake doesn’t belong on the blog.
    .
    If and when SOS becomes a news maker (they’ve done nothing but sword rattle and cheerlead to date) then you cover it. Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with sword rattling and cheer leading, that just isn’t newsworthy.
    .

  2. Agree with Jeffrey. Just REAL news. Don’t want to start a flame war, so that’s all I’ll say on this one.

  3. Given that the vast majority of your readers are likely in support of keeping the As in Oakland, I think you’d do well to keep readers post on SOS activities and even, yes, PR. Less out of journalistic integrity than to appease your readers. I for one have appreciated every bit of SOS content you’ve posted, and would look forward to more, since Im intetrested, but perhaps not enough so to actually join SOS.

  4. Marine:

    Your site name says it all, NEW A’s park. Now whether that’s San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, we A’s fans are past the point of pie in the sky stadium proposals with no clear or rational funding solutions. I know I touched on some raw only Oakland nerves in my last post, regardless, I stand by my statement.SHOW ME THE MONEY. And as long as I’m using movie metaphors, as Rocky said in the original, if you wanna dance, you gotta pay the band.I vote that future publicity given to Oakland only contain rational argument as to where the $ will come from.

  5. I just think it’s somewhat pathetic that SOS is now asking you to give them play when they removed you from their mailing list over some matter of “trust.” If they “trust” you enough to put out their PR puff pieces, then they should “trust” you enough to keep you on their mailing list. I’m thinking an invitation to SOS to collectiveliy go piss up a rope seems in order.

  6. I’m in the news business…. if we think something is PR only and doesn’t break any new ground, we don’t cover it.

  7. Although I am committed to keeping the A’s and Raiders in Oakland, I agree that SOS is simply asking for free ink. If you choose to cover their meetings and events, that should be entirely up to you.

  8. Blog meant to just post news? What the heck was that personal diatribe against Oakland a week ago from Jeffery. C’mon man.

  9. If you think it’s newsworthy, then post it. If not, don’t. You’ve certainly earned my trust over the years to determine what’s important vs what’s fluff.

  10. @angelakalalo – Nobody with a reading comprehension level above third grade could possibly interpret that as a “diatribe against Oakland.” This kind of nonsense makes it impossible for rational people to take the Oakland-only crowd seriously. Next maybe you can tell us how the whole world is working together to keep Oakland down.

  11. @Patrick – “Given that the vast majority of your readers are likely in support of keeping the As in Oakland, I think you’d do well to keep readers post on SOS activities and even, yes, PR.”
    .
    Well, then shouldn’t they cut out the middle man and join SOS?
    .
    I agree with Jeffrey, if it’s news, it’s news, if it’s not, then don’t post. I also agree it’s cheap to remove you from the mailing list for questionable trust, and then want to use you for publicity.

  12. Long time reader, first time poster and *gasp* Giants fan pulling for the A’s to get their ballpark ASAP and disgusted with Giants brass and their proxies stonewalling the A’s out of San Jose.

    ML: Just stick to those facts in the form of the hard news and what you think of said facts, that’s what I like to read here.

  13. (first time posting) As many have said before, while this site isn’t always for straight news, the content is always driven towards a new stadium. Whether that’s in SJ, Fremont, Oakland, etc. doesn’t seem to matter to you (or me for that matter) and guess what, it’s your site and you get to generate the content. If you wanted this to be an anti-oakland/pro-SJ site, that’s your business and your prerogative. I live in Oakland and from a personal standpoint, yes, it would be great if the A’s were able to stay in Oakland. However, Oakland has not proven over the last 15 or so years that they can fully support anyone in the coliseum. The A’s obviously rarely sell out and even the Raiders, playing in the most popular league in the country, can barely sell out games. Keep providing the unbiased new stadium information/analysis, and unless SOS actually does something of note, maybe mention them and move on.

  14. First off this is you blog, do as you feel correct.

    I do not think you should link to PR pieces. Report the news and or provide your own.

  15. Agree with Sierra and Jeffery. If they do anything newsworthy post about it just as you do with team ownership, city governments, other booster groups, etc… Otherwise, it’s not your job to be their PR mouthpiece. Particularly since they’ve seen fit to lock you out of their mailing list. As for posting when their events are in the calendar, I wouldn’t even do that until they at least explain to you what their event is going to entail (again you’re not their PR mouthpiece). And that should go for all booster groups, LGO, SOS, BBSJ, etc…

  16. You can call it analysis. It’s still bias in some respect, I read it thoroughly. To call it a “diatribe” was too strong I admit, certainly wasn’t a fair analysis given Jeffery’s stances in the past. Just my opinion. I actually stand by ur side with this SOS business. There’s been little substance from their angle and there’s no reason for them to expect free pub from this blog. While I find this site insightful and a creditable resource for most matters, it is still a blog and ur not bound to any quid pro quo from any organization. IF SOS wants to ban u, it’s really their loss and a loss to any effort in Oakland to retain their franchises.

  17. @Patrick,
    You’re at the wrong blog if you truly think that. Really?

  18. I don’t see the harm in putting the SOS events on the calender,unfortunately there is not much else there at the moment.That doesn’t mean I’m saying they should be promoted in the Post’s,unless as others have said,something newsworthy regarding the stadium has come from them.I’m not sure what kind of news they can provide,being that Oakland itself can not provide any specific news.

  19. I personally come here for news and analysis on the A’s, and general North American, stadium situations. I have honestly never read anything you have posted about SOS, with the exception of your meeting attendance post just to get an idea of what they were. If they make news post. If you want to analyze them go for it. PR and Meeting schedules can be found with an internet search.

  20. I agree with others here. If it’s news, definitely cover it. If they SOS wants you to cover their meetings, then they should at least report what came out of it (besides a few brewskies). BTW> What was their reason for taking you off the mailing list?

  21. I actually first learned of SOS when I read the ML post about attending one of their meetings. Also, I think this blog is being pretty generous by providing a link to the SOS site. It’s funny. Glancing down their membership list, a see the names of a number of people I know in the East Bay. Yet I certainly haven’t heard anything much about the group. They seem a bit disorganized. I suspect any slights are inadvertent. Maybe they’ll get it together. For now, I can’t say their efforts rise to the level of news.

  22. Personally only interested in “news” that relates to things that relate to stadium/ballpark development in the bay area. Calendar should be reserved for significant events that advance the ballpark discussion in any of the areas–such as upcoming dates for S4SJ to respond to SJ request to depose etc–

    @angelakalalo–if your going to attack someone’s analysis you should at least provide examples of where you disagree with the facts made–Jeffrey went to great pains to remove the emotion out of the post and present logical facts—

  23. Only news worthy ML.. Especially since they removed your from their mailing list. Eff that! I agree with Sierra Spartan… Pretty pathetic and lame on their part.

  24. @GoA’s I didn’t attack the analysis as much as I merely stated its based in opinion. We can all throw out logistics for pro-Oak or San Jose but they’re all speculative until they come to fruition. How many ballparks/Organizations were destined for success prior to construction? What are the outcomes now that their respective attendances’ have soured? Is that a measureable of viability? Or merely that they were built? i.e.: Miami, Cleveland, Baltimore (until recently) etc. I come to this site to read up on stadium development. But maybe I’m one of the few that doesn’t see a new ballpark as equating to success for the A’s. (Although I do want a new park like any fan would.) And don’t tell me to think longterm success with a steady revenue, because this ownership hasn’t shown any commitment to that notion. I don’t know why some of u would believe that, based in…nothing. That’s blinders on.

  25. Generally, I appreciate your supply and appraisal of a) relevant news from traditional news sources and b) on-the-record conversations with people involved in the “process”, i.e. your Wolff interview from last year. The Tribune article about SOS meets the “a” standard. Reporting on SOS getting off the ground meets “b” – – barely.

    Until SOS (or any other citizens’ group) accomplishes something tangible, I think you should apply the Bryan Grunwald policy and make them earn the space by getting something done.

    Specifically, I agree that you shouldn’t do SOS any favors if they’re purposely shutting you out. That’s petty and short-sighted.

  26. I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems like they don’t want you, but they need you.

  27. I like putting them on the calendar. Even if I don’t go to the meetings, it gives me some update as to what they are up to. Putting them in news posts seems reasonable even if it’s a fluff piece. However, I would triage news links so that PR pieces and opinion columns are the first to go. So, maybe they get a link during slow news cycles.

  28. If this were my blog, I’d evaluate SOS events case-by-case against a “newsworthiness” standard. The “Stadium Aid” event would be newsworthy if some power players were to come, but the announcement doesn’t confirm anybody: “SaveOaklandSports (SOS) has invited local celebrities…”
    .
    Great, they can invite Jesus but that doesn’t mean he’s going to come. The announcement lists a number of people of varying degrees of fame in a non-sentence:
    .
    “Longtime sports columnist (retired) and author Dave Newhouse, politicians including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy, San Ramon Vice Mayor Jim Livingstone and Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell., former Oakland Raiders John Vella, Barry Sims and Kenny Shedd.”
    .
    Uh, where’s the verb?’
    .
    OK, here’s another rule: No links to articles that abuse the English language. That rules SOS out.

  29. GoA’s: the standard due date for oppositions to motions is 9 court days before the hearing. The pleadings ML linked up show a hearing date of Sept. 21 for the motion to compel hearing. So S4SJ’s opp may be due on Monday, Sept. 10, under the regular clock. I saw something in one of the news stories about S4SJ’s intent to file its own motion. If that happens, the parties and the judge could agree to move the hearing date out a bit, to hear both motions at once.

  30. While I support their cause and appreciate the updates, if writing something makes you feel like it pushes the boundaries of you integrity I’d say withhold until you feel otherwise.

  31. Angel, what was wrong about what I wrote? To say other markets had trouble building stadiums is different than acknowledging what lies between Oakland and a stadium. As I have said a million times (yes that hyperbole, but if you look back and remove your balance i gave Victory Court and JLS West pretty glowing reviews as potential sites)I am great with a stadium in Oakland, I am just a lot more realistic about what has transpired and what has to happen in order to make that a reality.
    .
    as far as SOS, it’d be awesome if they came out after the fundraiser and announced how much they raised and what that equates to as a portion of actual stadium construction… Publish it!

  32. How can anyone fault Jeffrey for what he wrote? He basically said he was frustrated with Oakland not moving forward on tangible accomplishments to get a stadium built and explained what works. He just gave them advise on how to prevail. Seems to me that he is doing a favor for Oakland that he didn’t have to.

  33. I think if you are uncomfortable you should listen to your gut.

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