I call myself a freelance writer. I am not a journalist in my mind, though I suspect if things come to pass as they appear to be the lines of how you view me will change even if the lines for me do not. Because you see, I believe the terminology of old media is now defunct and that we need to redefine them somehow.
Internal discussions this morning involved an ex trad print local newspaper journalist referring to the chap behind The Northerner blog on The Guardian as a journalist. It brought me up short. He isn't. He's a pro blogger in that context, surely? But she doesn't know there are such things - his words are on the Guardian website and therefore he is a journalist.
Can you be a journalist without a qualification? I do not have one and I cannot do shorthand and frankly, am getting along just fine without. I will record and transcribe if I need to, rather than resort to what to me look akin to ancient hieroglyphs. Tech is there to enable me, and I shall take full advantage.
Am I a pro blogger? Well yes, at the moment, based on what has been published so far. But that is about to change, and yet the stuff which people will shortly be reading from me is not journalism either.
You see, in my head, journalists interview people. Journalists investigate. Journalists acquire a story. They do not speak of the things which they already know. And yet by that definition, the things I write of I don't always know and one of the things that I enjoy the most about writing is the impetus to discover and research those things I've been curious about for a while but never found time.
So am I a journalist simply by definition of having some words published which I researched and investigated? Well no because then anyone could become a journalist and journalism is most definitely still a respected profession and quite rightly so.
So does it depend on the website you are published on? Are there certain websites upon which, if your words are featured, there is automatic journalism status bestowed on the person who contributed the words?
Does it depend on time spent per day or week or month writing those words? Do you become a journalist only when you do it full time, even when you are still freelancing?
Or do we need to simply accept that a journalist is what someone is when they construct and contribute articles to traditional media and what we are all doing who are purely digital is something different? Do I believe the quality of my writing is good enough for print? Not sure - that call is someone elses to make at some point in the future, not mine. But personally, really deep down, journalism is the playground the big kids play in, the serious kids, the kids with received pronunciation. It is not a place where working class kids from estates who grew up on the poverty line belong. It just isn't.
So what, exactly, is it that I do?