There is a battle brewing in American life in which bloggers and other citizen journalists will demand the same rights and privileges traditionally enjoyed by professional journalists.
What is a journalist? What differentiates journalists from other people who seek to disseminate ideas and information to the public? Does whether someone is considered a journalist depend on where his or her words are published? On whether he gets paid? On whether she offers only "objective" facts or also supplies her own analysis and ideas?
It was not long ago that the lines between journalists and the rest of us seemed relatively clear. Those who worked for "news" organizations were journalists; everyone else was not. In the view of most, you knew the press when you saw it.
Those days are gone. Thanks to the internet and the growing "blogosphere," the lines distinguishing journalists from other people who disseminate information, ideas and opinions to a wide audience have been blurred, perhaps beyond recognition. Some of that blurring has resulted from forces outside the media, some from the transformation of the media itself. Whatever the causes, it is harder than ever to tell who is a journalist.