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A chart from LaCour and Green's study of voter attitudes before and after they spoke with either a gay or straight canvasser about their views on same-sex marriage. These data are now disputed. (Source: Mike LaCour's web site, accessed May 27, 2015.) By Michael Kuczkowski “… just because the data don’t exist to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method of changing minds, doesn’t mean the hypothesis is false.” This sounds like a weird riff on a famous line from...

Tom Brady, who is implicated in an NFL investigation into whether his team intentionally deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game in January. Photo by Keith Allison. Used under Creative Commons license. By Mike Kuczkowski In Week 7 of what was a tough 2014 NFL season, Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady was ticked off. It was halftime, October 16. Patriots v. Jets. At home. New England was up 17-12, in a surprisingly feisty matchup. At the time, the Patriots...

A pro-gay marriage rally in Sacramento in 2008. A recent study showed that engaging opponents to gay marriage in a dialogue about the issue was effective in changing minds. Photo by Kelly B. Huston. Used under Creative Commons license. By Michael Kuczkowski Years ago, I was part of a team that was hired to help a pharmaceutical company explain to America why its industry was a good thing. This was not an easy task, obviously. The pharmaceutical industry has...

By Mike Kuczkowski Last month, Silicon Valley was abuzz with the unfolding saga of Ellen Pao’s gender bias case against venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. A former junior partner at KPCB, Pao, 45, alleged that male partners there engaged in a pattern of discriminatory behavior against female junior partners. Pao, who worked at KPCB for seven and a half years, also said she had been sexually harassed by a former partner and that the firm...

By Mike Kuczkowski The first move for anyone facing a lawsuit is to get a good lawyer. The second move: get a good communications counselor. In Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, (see The Reputational Costs of Litigation), both sides put significant resources into communications. Pao lunched with reporters from Reuters and re/code. (Note: registration required for access.) The Wall Street Journal took an in-depth look at crisis communications firm Brunswick’s efforts on behalf of Kleiner Perkins. (Ditto.) I’ve been on both sides of...

By Mike Kuczkowski Last week, the coffee giant Starbucks launched a campaign encouraging its baristas to engage customers in a dialogue about race. Baristas around the country were encouraged to chat about race with their customers and write “Race Together" on each coffee cup. It was a bold move, not without risk, and it has drawn both praise and criticism. How do we evaluate a campaign like “Race Together”? I think it give us an opportunity to think about...

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas. April, 1943. Photo by John Vachon. By Mike Kuczkowski I live in Marin County, Calif., just north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. It is one of the most strikingly beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places. With a median income of $94,347, Marin ranks 13th in the nation in per capita household income[i]....

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas. April, 1943. Photo by John Vachon. By Mike Kuczkowski I live in Marin County, Calif., just north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. It is one of the most strikingly beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places. With a median income of $94,347, Marin ranks 13th in the nation in per capita household income[i]....

By Mike Kuczkowski The two weeks between the AFC/NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl is usually devoted to celebrating the success of the two teams who have made it to the Big Game, examining their strengths and weaknesses, pulling together Super Bowl party menus and generating some excitement about one of the few remaining mass cultural events in America. We’ve spent the past two weeks talking about, ahem, New England’s balls. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock,...

The Kinks's songs were often inspired by everyday scenes of British life, like this Waterloo Sunset. Photo by Steve Walker, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 By Mike Kuczkowski In the early 1960s, a band emerged from Great Britain that would change the very face of rock ‘n’ roll. Led by a dynamic duo, this band started its career by recording covers of songs by American R&B and blues artists. In the mid-1960s, they began penning their own tunes. Their third single...