Editorial:    online coverage of Australian baseball

 

Australian baseball has always, sadly, undervalued its reporting of the sport.

 

There has been an assumption - because we might believe that something is newsworthy – that mainstream media will share our view on coverage.

 

The assumption is misguided. We have serious media and communications issues that need to be addressed - starting at ABL level and the top echelons of our governing bodies.     READ MORE.......

 

Kingsley Collins

18 January 2015

 

Australian baseball has historically always undervalued its own reporting of the sport.

 

At all levels, there has been an assumption - because we might believe that something is newsworthy – that mainstream media will share the view.

 

The assumption is misguided. The last couple of days have demonstrated that mainstream media will only show interest in Australian baseball if there is a sensational story doing the rounds – something out of the ordinary, like the fracas between Adelaide Bite and Melbourne Aces.

 

Good copy, maybe. Does it do anything to enhance the standing of Australian baseball? Or participation in the sport? It might, but probably not.

 

Australian baseball is its own worst enemy in regard to media reporting, online coverage and social media. The national governing body is now just slowly coming to an understanding that it has a greater responsibility in this area, while the state associations in general still don’t get it.

 

All governing bodies should be placing far greater emphasis on getting their own house in order, through proper funding and the employment of knowledgeable baseball people who have media and communications qualifications. It is simply not good enough to allow such an important function to be either neglected or to be assigned to well-meaning volunteers who in many or most cases simply do not have a clue.

 

The Australian Baseball League is at least making an effort. Although it engages a preponderance of United States interns who are concerned more with building their own resume than anything else to help secure employment back home, the quality of the input over the past couple of seasons has been increasingly impressive, with both the written word and online streaming coverage going ahead in leaps and bounds.

 

That is fine, even though there are many who might argue that we should be engaging more local people, more qualified and more committed Australian personnel to undertake such tasks wherever we are able.

 

Technology has moved at breakneck speed over the past twenty years. Anyone can now be a publisher. There are freedoms that come with such an opportunity. With those opportunities, there are responsibilities, and there surely are standards and ethics - as there are legalities.

 

In Australia – and right around the world – there are individuals and groups creating websites, Facebook pages, blogs and other social media presences reporting on, commenting on, dealing with and addressing the gamut of human experiences.

 

In our own world Down Under, there are numerous blogs dedicated to and about Australian baseball. Some of them are good, some not so good. Some operate with integrity within our national laws, others may be pushing the envelope for whatever their purpose might be.

 

There is one such baseball blog, in particular, that has steadfastly refused over the past four or five years to even reveal the identity of its editor (we wonder why not). It has filled a vacuum created by the inability of governing bodies to provide the coverage reasonably expected by the Australian baseball community. It has been allowed to gain a foothold, including among those who know of its likely editorship.

 

Presenting itself as a one-stop shop on baseball matters, it writes none of its own original material. It is a lazy and editorially-discredited online vehicle that every day wilfully and flagrantly copies and pastes copyrighted material from other sources – from all around the world – often without even acknowledging the source or the author of that material (including Australian Baseball League writers).

 

While it has been warned off such behaviour by certain persons and organisations – including Australian Baseball Alumni editorial staff – it still takes extreme and inordinate liberties with material produced by and for Australian Baseball League, Baseball Australia, the state associations, Australian newspapers and any number of international media outlets who are clearly unaware of what is going on.

 

This is a dangerous and unacceptable state of affairs. And it is one to which opposition should be expressed in the strongest possible terms. What this anonymous, unidentifiable and unaccountable blog is doing is to direct internet traffic away from legitimate websites and social media – such as Australian Baseball League, Australian Baseball League clubs, Baseball Australia and its state associations. And anyone else who might write a baseball story of interest.

 

Sponsors would be surely thrilled to know that the organisation they support is knowingly allowing a third party to divert attention away from the online advertising and promotion for which they have paid plenty in good faith.

 

Such conduct is simply not acceptable – ethically or legally. Let us insist on respect for the intellectual property of our contributors at any level and let us not allow those anonymous persons of unknown motives exploit our legitimate efforts to report on and promote Australian baseball.