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Labor Day Boost

A new “Simply-Put” video provides a brief illustration of how to make the core points emerging from Topos research on communicating job quality, including minimum wage and paid sick days.

Reframing Privatization Schemes

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 […]

Focus on Personal Stories

Close Up vs. Big Picture Stories: The Role of Individual Examples in Advocacy Communications Research and real-life experience, plus perspectives from the social and cognitive sciences, tell us that “putting the face on the story” can often backfire. In this memo, we explore the reasons why this approach can go so wrong – from diverting […]

Talking About Talking About Poverty

Writing in The Nation, reporter Greg Kaufmann updates readers on the national campaign to include discussion of poverty policy in the Presidential debates. He interviewed Topos Senior Fellow Margy Waller about reframing the public dialogue. Waller said research suggests that the way we usually talk about poverty—even using the words “poverty” and “welfare” themselves—“makes most people think […]

Topos on Framing

Topos’ unique and innovative approach synthesizes expertise from the cognitive and social sciences as well as public opinion. Most of the insights and examples in this post emerged from the research Topos principals have conducted for a wide range of organizations over the past 10 or more years. Introduction Framing is a term that has […]

Values vs. Explanations in Advocacy

Issues & Values Progressive advocates increasingly accept what Conservatives have long recognized – that issue advocacy is often a competition between opposing value systems. Following on Thomas Kuhn’s groundbreaking work on paradigms, George Lakoff’s influential Moral Politics, for example, argued forcefully that conservatives and progressives inhabit radically different but equally coherent moral worlds, and that […]

Strategies for Debt Ceiling Talk and a Deficit of Understanding

From House Speaker Boehner’s warnings about the next debt ceiling debate to Mitt Romney’s addition of a debt clock prop to his campaign events, conservatives have signaled that they intend to make the federal deficit and government spending the focus of their economic message. In this short strategy memo, Topos offers advice for how progressives can […]

Trayvon Martin’s Death and the Media Dialogue

The tragic death of Trayvon Martin is sparking a much-needed dialogue about racism and the plight of black men, and commentators are turning to recent reports by the Topos Partnership for the Opportunity Agenda to help make the point.  In the Huffington Post, Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal notes this new research finds “correlations between media depictions […]