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How Much Does Good Press Cost?

That issue was essentially at the heart of quite a bit of protracted debate on New Business Item 1.

The original resolution would have directed the National Education Association to prepare and launch a major public relations strategy to "revive public confidence" in public schools. Major media buys put the cost of such a campaign at $52 million, or over a third of the NEA's current operating budget.

"It costs money to put this message out," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said. "It is not, 'Write it, and they will come.' "

Unless, of course, you're talking about viral social networking—Facebook, Twitter, and the like. So the delegates substituted an amendment to put out the union's message on a "social media platform" at a cost of only $125,000. And lo and behold, the resolution passed.

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