Defining Journalism

A lot of folks took issue with me challenging Peggy Noonan, and to a lesser extent George Will, on the grounds of journalism. The basic argument being, "She isn't a journalist, how can you be surprised by this?" Given that Noonan and Will (to my knowledge) have never been reporters, and don't do much of it, I understand the basic thrust of the argument.

But it's false on the merits. Journalism doesn't simply include reporters--but editors, producers, and yes, opinion writers. Indeed, this is why, if you go to j-school, you might very well end up taking a class in op-ed writing. In fact, in its earliest forms, journalism was more opinion then reporting.

I think it's fair to consider Noonan, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, a journalist. I think it's fair to consider Will, someone who's won a Pulitizer Prize for Journalism, a journalist. I now write, at most, four reported pieces a year--most of my words are unreported, and on this blog. I still think of myself as journalist. (Though reporting those pieces is very, very, very important to me. Indeed, I think the blog would suffer if I didn't do it.)