The deliberations of the Canadian Association of Journalists ethics advisory committee (full disclosure: I am a former member) indicate the answer is neither easy nor bound to be comprehensive by nature. Rather, the committee has set out some principles on the working definition of journalism and its practitioners (in this case, the general public isn't particularly considered a participant).
This week the committee issued its report. Here are some of the conclusions, based in part on also asking what is not journalism:
1. Purpose: An act of journalism sets out to combine evidence-based research and verification with the creative act of storytelling. Its central purpose is to inform communities about topics or issues that they value.
2. Creation. All journalistic work -- whether words, photography or graphics -- contains an element of original production.
3. Methods. Journalistic work provides clear evidence of a self-conscious discipline calculated to provide an accurate and fair description of facts, opinion and debate at play within a situation.
Non-journalists will employ some of these attributes, but the committee believes that "for most purposes, the above three criteria create a three-way definitional 'veto'. That is, all three criteria must be met in order for an act to qualify as journalism. Failure to pass any one of these tests means that the act in question is not journalism, and only journalists will meet -- or, at least, attempt to meet -- all these criteria consistently, fully and deliberately."
Let the debate persist.