“The censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people.”

About the Editors and the Editorial Process

Citizen Critics comprises a collaboration between scholars and experts across public policy, politics, and the language and discourse of politics. To be a lead author on a piece for Citizen Critics, you must be a current expert, researcher, or academic in the field about which you are writing. To be a desk editor at Citizen Critics, you commit to timely and fair review of all work for your desk. Additionally, all desk editors commit to producing one article for their desk every two months, one commentary piece for their desk every two months, and one podcast idea per year in addition to regular participation in Citizen Critics’ twitter presence, in the area of their desk specialty, weekly. We do not publish submissions from employees of independent research companies or think tanks. We also do not publish paid or unpaid public relations pieces. Our aim is to provide a fact-based, nonpartisan, editorially independent forum.

Types of Submission


Articles with Citizen Critics (1000-2000 words) must first be submitted to the editor of the desk where the piece would be published. 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 strive to complete this process quickly, at the discretion of the editor of the desk to which the piece has been submitted. 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 or an associate editor. Articles may be pitched to each individual desk editor or desk editors may send queries to individual scholars or experts, either through an individual email or through a “call for pieces,” a request sent out to scholars and experts in a particular area. Those interested in submitting an article should contact either one of the associate editors, Heather Ashley Hayes ([email protected]) or Michael J. Steudeman ([email protected]) or the individual desk editor for the desk to which they would like to submit their piece.


Commentary pieces (500-1500 words) aim to analyze the ethics of public discourse and events in real time with a goal of challenging or defending their communicative choices. Commentary pieces take two different forms. Sometimes, Authors in Commentary pieces assume the persona of the Rhetoric Referee, who weighs in on current controversies over rhetorical practice. Rhetoric Referees respond when the ethics of a particular rhetorical act have already been called into question, resulting in public disagreements over the defensibility of public speech. Alternatively, Commentary pieces can take the form of Opinion Editorials featuring informed judgment calls or personal reflections from experts or scholars of language regarding ongoing issues of ethical, political, or linguistic practice in the news. Those interested in writing as a Rhetoric Referee or Editorial Opinion writer for Citizen Critics should contact Associate Editor Heather Ashley Hayes ([email protected]) or Commentary Editor Ryan Skinnell ([email protected]).


In Citizen Critics Chats, a team of experts weigh in on a current event issue. Typically lasting one hour, these conversations offer a way to efficiently explore multiple facets of an ongoing issue from multiple perspectives. Using the Slack program, one of the Citizen Critics desk or associate editors moderates a discussion. They then edit the transcript for coherence and clarity before providing contributors a final opportunity to revise and/or elaborate on their statements. Those interested in hosting or participating in a Citizen Critics Chat should contact Associate Editor Michael J. Steudeman ([email protected]).


Citizen Critics podcasts are the multimedia dimension of the work of Citizen Critics. They are produced approximately once per month, and each podcast will focus on a current issue in rhetoric and politics, broadly speaking, for analysis. Podcasts can be anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes in length, depending upon the topic and participants. Each podcast will feature experts in topical areas of the podcast’s focus and will be guided by a host, providing context and grounding for the rhetorical controversies covered in the podcast. Those with ideas for a podcast or interested in hosting or appearing on a Citizen Critics podcast should contact one of the associate editors, Heather Ashley Hayes ([email protected]) or Michael J. Steudeman ([email protected]).