I have never described myself as a journalist and never will.
In my mind, it’s Journalist, like Writer, with upper-case gravitas that I neither have nor deserve.
I once worked for a lady who proclaimed at every turn the she was “a journalist! We are journalists!” and then hit up companies for advertising, since we were doing our cover story on them anyway. Who would ask unnecessary questions at product launches because it made the organizers feel good, and ensured future invitations. Who railed (vaguely) at (vague) corruption in government but did nothing about plagiarism at the office.
To call myself a journalist after that, even in private, would be a pretension that will diminish this profession I hold in so much awe.
Once, after professing my desire to be (and implying my envy of) a hot rock star journalist, an actual journalist had this to say:
A friend offers this alternative, by way of her grad school professor: mamamahayag, which is the Filipino word used for journalist but does not quite mean the same thing . The root is supposedly the Bisaya “hayag,” which suggests brightness, daylight. In Tagalog, it means to announce, disclose, reveal.
Lightbringer. Jon, the Revelator. Why, that’s not pretentious at all.