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Last Weeks Of Session Worth $51 Million In Bad Publicity, Tulsa Chamber Says

Oklahoma House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, gestures on the House floor on the final day of the Legislative session, in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 27, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki
Oklahoma House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, gestures on the House floor on the final day of the Legislative session, in Oklahoma City, Friday, May 27, 2016.

A report commissioned by the Tulsa Regional Chamber estimates the final two weeks of the 2016 legislative session was worth $50.9 million of bad publicity.

The Tulsa World’s Randy Krehbiel reports that's based on what's known as the advertising value equivalency of news coverage of a transgender bathroom bill, public education funding, and the state budget crisis:

Essentially, advertising value equivalency tracks the theoretical cost of an equivalent amount of advertising in or on the news sources cited. It’s best known for monitoring “positive” coverage, such as reports on businesses moving to town or expanding. The Tulsa Regional Chamber, though, decided to experiment a little. It asked its media-monitoring contractor, Meltwater, to analyze just those three issues as they related to Oklahoma. From May 18 through June 2, Meltwater tabulated $138 million in advertising value equivalency for those three subjects. Most of the coverage — almost $88 million — was rated “neutral.” Only $326,604 worth was rated positive, and more than half of that was attributed to Republican state Rep. Jadine Nollan’s column in the Sand Springs Leader.

The Chamber's senior vice president for education and workforce Brian Paschal says whether or not those measures pass or fail isn't the issue, it's the first impression that sticks. He told the newspaper Oklahoma's national perception matters when it comes to attracting employers and skilled workers.

From Krehbiel:

Some lawmakers — and many voters — cite religious or moral concerns for their positions on things such as one of the issues studied, access for transgender people to public school facilities. Paschal said his job is promoting education and matching workers with employers. “We have (chamber) members who need skilled workers,” he said. “There has to be some recognition of the … perception of the state outside of Oklahoma.” “For Oklahoma to be successful, we have to have a skilled workforce,” Doctor said. “Being an attractive place to live is a piece of that success.”

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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