photo: Paul Hamilton. CC BY_SA license. (see about page for links)

Recent News

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

Reframing Privatization Schemes

Axel Aubrun Speaking at NASHTU

Topos is often invited to share our work on reframing privatization with groups that are on the front lines of countering efforts to shift public assets and public responsibilities to private companies.

Topos has found that when the topic of privatization is framed simply as an issue of cost effectiveness, average people assume that private enterprise can likely offer services more cheaply and efficiently than government, and they have a “let’s give it a try!” attitude. They don’t become aware of the pitfalls of privatization schemes until it is too late.

However, when the issue is reframed as a matter of handing over control of important public assets and public responsibilities, people quickly take a much more critical and skeptical view of what might go wrong in a privatization scheme.  These doubts deepen if people are asked to consider whether we can count on private companies to do a good job when they are essentially given a monopoly or they are given a long term contract.

This month, Topos principal Axel Aubrun spoke at the 14th Conference of the National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU).  Axel — together with Nancy Tate (Executive Director of the League of Women Voters) and Scott Amey (Project on Government Oversight)  — shared a panel entitled,  Outsourcing, Privatization, Contracting Out – Current Outsourcing Trends and How to Communicate About the Dangers Effectively.

Axel shared one of Topos Partnership’s videos, which contrasts how average people talk about privatization before they’ve heard the reframe – and after the topic has been reframed as handing over control. Check it out above.

 (Original research commissioned by In the Public Interest)

Minimum Wage: Presidential Words and Media Reports

State of the Union

Three Ties at SOTU

Many people, including all of us at Topos, were delighted by many of the themes in President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday – such as his strong emphasis on actions we all take together for the common good, his proposals to take steps to improve access to early childhood education, to increase energy efficiency, and to improve the economy by expanding and strengthening the middle class.

Specifically, we were thrilled by the President’s surprise proposal to raise the minimum wage. It was the most tweeted moment of the speech, at 24,000 Tweets per minute. 

Topos’s Ford Foundation research identifies ways to have a public dialogue about job quality issues that build understanding of the state of the labor market – and broad support for a higher wage and benefits floor. Read More

Behind the Kitchen Door



Congratulations to Saru Jayaraman for a successful launch of her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door.  We’re proud to stand with Saru in bringing public attention to the shameful $2.13 tipped minimum wage that undercuts workers, communities and the economy.