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Recent News

Events of note in the world of strategic framing and communications – from the Topos perspective

Topos on Framing


We hope that this short paper will be a useful resource to help advocates, funders, and consumers of framing research understand the gist of framing, and why it can make the difference between effective and ineffective communications.


Values vs. Explanations


The work of the Topos principals over the last 10 years suggests that the current emphasis on values- based advocacy is actually an overcorrection away from the traditional reliance on facts as persuasive tools. Although it is important to recognize that facts alone are not enough to change people’s thinking, current communications often overemphasize appeals to moral identity and values.  Read more . . .

Climate Crossroads

Solving the problem of climate change is as much a challenge of public communications as it is of physical science.  Scientific consensus is solid on the fact that humanity’s CO2 emissions are causing global warming, but the challenge of how to deploy that scientific knowledge in order to move global publics and their leaders to take the matter seriously is still a work in progress.

But advocates and scientists are enthusiastically embracing the challenge of translating their scientific findings into communications that can both reach out to the general public and start to have more of an impact on actual policy formation.

For example, this month the World Resources Institute put out their annual Issue Brief that summarizes and disseminates the current climate science for an educated audience.  The American Geophysical Association awarded its first ever Climate Communications prize to Gavin Schmidt, founder of the blog RealClimate.  And in Communicating the Science of Climate Change (pdf) at Physics Today, researchers are working to educate scientists themselves about how their words are systematically misunderstood by average people.

Topos’ own work has helped lay the groundwork for improving the communications toolkit for climate advocates, and we keep close track of these ongoing efforts to improve the conversation.