I recently overheard a debate between two journalism students at Mizzou about whether or not Oprah Winfrey is a journalist. One of the students described her as such, and the other objected indignantly. “She can’t be a journalist, she has an opinion!” she said. To her, although Oprah is undoubtedly a media personality and content producer, the fact that Oprah engages in advocacy and philanthropy invalidated her as a “journalist.”
Isn’t it weird to belong to a profession whose legitimacy can be questioned like this? Who decides who is and isn’t a journalist?