We all have access to a high quality video and picture capture device in our pocket, and we've all got instant access to global distribution if we come up with something interesting. Now more than ever, we must protect the rights of the public to information. Yes, Assange is a journalist, and Snowden is a whistleblower, and both are hero's.
I guess they do not come more straight forward than Julian Assange. One thing, that does worry you about the guy is how much information he has in his head, that no else knows about. When people start getting that kind of information, they usually start going a little conspiracy theory nuts. I see him as a journalist though.
Even though we may not agree with what Julian Assange may be doing or his tactics, we do have to agree that he is a journalist. A journalist's duty is to put information out there that is the truth. And that is what Julian Assange was doing. The only aspect of it that I do not agree with is his irresponsible tactics.
I don't think it would be right to consider Julian Assange as a journalist. He seems to consider himself one, but I have never seen him publish anything resembling a piece of journalism on his website, Wikileaks. I think he performs a vital public service with his website, but no, not a journalist.
True journalists are interested in reporting facts and stories to the public for their benefit and information. There are not many such journalists left, as many news networks and outlets feature more and more opinion and commentators. Julian Assange does not even fit this category, since he is not beholden to a larger and credible organization. He does not even count as an independent journalist given how obvious his political beliefs are.