Philosophical linkages between public journalism and citizen journalism: Linda Steiner and Jessica Roberts
Controversy over public journalism wracked journalism scholars and practising journalists in the early 1990s, when it was advocated as solving two widening gaps: between political figures and citizens, and between news organizations and their readers. Declines in voter participation in elections, and more importantly in civic participation in public affairs, seemed to indicate that citizens were increasingly disengaged and were withdrawing from political processes. The public’s disaffection with political discourse and cynicism about government were at least partly blamed on journalism’s horse-race approach to campaigns and its treatment of politics as pivoting on self-interested tactics. That is, democracy was suffering. Journalists could help democracy by listening to people and trying to enhance civic commitment and participation in democratic processes.