Citizen Critics

Jessica Prody's picture
Type of Call: 
Call for submissions
January 30, 2018

As we inaugurate Donald Trump and sit on the cusp of an Antarctic ice sheet break, we in environmental  communication and sustainability advocacy know the world is changing yet again, and political and cultural rhetorics about intergenerational issues are more important than ever.

We are reaching out because we have agreed to begin working as part of the Citizen Critics collective, which launched at on January 20, 2017. We also have a twitter account: @Citizen_Critics. Citizen Critics is being designed as a nonpartisan, independent analysis space that promotes critical analysis and discussion of politics and other matters of the public good with a focus on language use, misuse, and abuse. Imagine a space like The Conversation or ProPublica, this is somewhat like what we envision. We write and promote work from the academic community and from experts in the myriad desks from which we publish for a broad, global audience. Citizen Critics is a not-for-profit collaboration; the small team of editors works with scholars and experts in various fields across the world to craft pieces that appeal to a wide audience. Our goal is to provide rigorous but accessible analysis that holds public figures accountable for their discourse and policies. Our aim is to provide a fact based, nonpartisan, editorially independent forum.

Citizen Critics is comprised of a collaboration between scholars and experts across public policy, politics, and the language and discourse of politics. The site is divided into a number of editorial desks, each which has its own purpose and scope. We have agreed to serve as the lead desk editors on the sustainability desk. This desk analyzes rhetorical impacts that are intergenerational, highlighting especially energy and environmental policy, climate change, and issues that affect long-term measures of resiliency and well-being. We especially prefer submissions that intersect with small and disadvantaged communities, to highlight local effects. For example, what does it mean for Dakotas’ First Nations, over the long term, that President Elect Donald Trump says climate change is a Chinese conspiracy? What impact will the appointment of incoming Director of the Environmental Protection Agency communicate to children and future citizens in Flint, Michigan? And outside the US, how might the heinous enforcement of a Moroccan swordfish protection policy spark another Arab Spring uprising, given the local symbolism of a man being crushed by a government trash compactor?

We have a rigorous editorial process. To publish a piece with Citizen Critics, it must be submitted first to the editor of the desk where the piece would be published; for the sustainability desk, us. It is then reviewed by at least one additional reviewer before it is approved for publication and a last set of style edits are completed (we will use AP Style for our site). We strive to complete this process quickly; we are hoping reviewers may be able to be on notice to get pieces reviewed and turned around within 14 days from receipt of the draft. NOTE: We aim to publish pieces between 600-1,000 words. Only in rare circumstances would we publish something longer (up to 2,000 words). We offer a collaborative editorial process and authors, along with the editor of the desk, will have final approval over the finished product. However, final publication decisions are made by the individual desk editor and the managing editor (our managing editor is Dr. Jennifer Mercieca at Texas A&M University's Department of Communication), and we plan to draw heavily from our reviewer comments for those decisions. 

The audience for Citizen Critics is broad and global. We hope our pieces will reach academics and scholars working at the intersection of politics and discourse but also experts, activists, and citizens outside of our collective seeking fact driven, nonpartisan criticism of current political discourse. Our audience consists of Republicans, Democrats, those who identify with no party or with a U.S based third party, and those from countries without a two party structure.

We would like to encourage you to consider submitting a piece. Our site needs good work from scholars, experts, and academics working on all areas of environmental communication research and practice. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. We know this is a lengthy email with a lot of information! We think this is a really important project and are proud to be a part of its launch. We believe critical, independent analysis spaces like this one are going to be vitally important in 2017 and beyond. 

Thank you,

Brandon Inabinet, Furman University (

Jessica M. Prody, St. Lawrence University (