The term “citizen journalism” is often used to describe reporting from a range of perspectives in the media, and is a term used to distinguish it from journalism that has the sole purpose of gathering information or disseminating news to the public.
Citizen journalists, on the other hand, are generally journalists who take on public issues and provide their findings in a non-partisan manner.
A number of media organisations, including the New York Times and The Washington Post, have recently adopted the term “public interest journalism” to describe their journalism.
As the Guardian’s political editor Peter Oborne pointed out, the term is sometimes used to refer to journalists who have worked for organisations that have taken on issues of social and political significance, but they also include journalists who are doing their own reporting and making their own conclusions about the world around them.
‘We have an obligation to protect the environment’ There are two distinct classes of “cognitive journalists” that are part of the public interest, according to Oborne.
One class is journalists who make their living reporting on the environment, such as environmental activists, journalists who work on environmental and health issues, journalists investigating corruption, and journalists who report on political and social issues.
The other is journalists that report on the public and its concerns and needs, such in health and food safety, economic issues, and environmental protection.
“There are two classes of ‘cognitive’ journalists: those who are focused on the subject and the people who care about it and are trying to do something to change the world,” Oborne said.
“But there are other classes of people that are also concerned about the environment.
We have an interest in the environment that is very real, but there are also interests of other types that have to do with the environment and the environment-related issues that we care about.
They’re not always in conflict.”
In the US, the public health group, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), has taken the lead in advocating for a new term for “cognition-based” journalists, using the term to describe the kind of journalism that focuses on the issues of public health and public health policy.
PPR’s president, Mark Pincus, said the term has not yet been formally adopted, but its use is “very relevant”.
PPR is the largest non-profit environmental group in the US and has been involved in the public-health movement since the 1970s.
Pincos is an environmental activist and a former executive director of the Sierra Club, a major environmental group, which he left to join PPR.
“I’ve seen the term coined in reference to other groups and I think it’s really important to use the term in this context,” he told Al Jazeera.
Pregnant with a child, Pincs says his interest in environmental issues is driven by the desire to protect nature and to help others.
“My son is now a citizen journalist,” Pincson said.
Picking up the newspaper and going to the park, or watching the news, Psuillson said he finds himself wanting to help the environment as much as he can.
“It’s about getting a better understanding of what’s going on,” he said.
In the UK, the environment watchdog, the Environment Agency, has adopted the phrase “public-interest journalism” for its definition of “public understanding” of environmental issues.
“The public-interest nature of these public-awareness campaigns is what makes them so valuable,” said Mark Gubben, director of policy at the environmental group Friends of the Earth UK.
“When the public has access to the full story and they see what’s being done in government and how it’s being implemented, they will feel more empowered to do more about it.”