Journalists often need access to events or areas that are closed off to the general public in order to follow up on leads and keep their readers or viewers informed. In America, the freedom of the press is taken very seriously, as well it should be, so most event organizers are willing to offer press passes. While the majority of these passes are available to journalists working for large media organizations like national newspapers, there are some solutions available to freelancers in the industry.
Contact the Event Organizer
Most event organizers will issue press passes to certain independent journalists. The easiest way to get one is to contact the organizer directly. Visit the event website to see if there’s a press or media application and fill it out well in advance to get a pass. If there’s no established route to obtaining press credentials, seek out the event coordinator’s contact information by looking up marketing and public relations departments and asking around.
Apply With Local Authorities
Looking to cover local news and need more general credentials to access restricted areas to find more information for stories? Check with the local authority, such as the state or city police department. While it’s possible to get a press credential as an independent journalist, according to realtimecampaign.com, applicants must usually be able to prove his or her recent publishing or broadcast history.
Contact the NPPA
There’s no centralized organization that offers universal press credentials to independent journalists. That said, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) will issue photo IDs, which can help freelancers identify themselves as members of the press. They only issue IDs to members who have committed to upholding the organization’s Code of Ethics, so an NPPA ID does hold at least some weight.
DIY Press Passes
DIY press IDs won’t hold up to scrutiny, but they can make it easier to communicate with security or access control personnel as a freelance journalist. A homemade press pass can be particularly useful for gaining entrance to events that aren’t issuing media credentials. It’s always best to work with a professional designer and printer like InstantCard that uses high-quality card stock. Just make sure to include a good photo, an indication of the holder’s role as an independent journalist, and the word PRESS in large, visible block letters.
Why Access Is Important
With The journalism crisis across the world that has resulted from COVID-19, many reporters working for newspapers and networks have lost their jobs. Freelancers step in to fill in the gaps. They have the same rights under US laws regarding freedom of the press as associated network journalists.
Getting credentials as a freelance journalist may require jumping through some hoops. For those who are truly committed to bringing unbiased news to their viewers or readers, it’s worth the effort. Just don’t assume that a homemade or NPPA-issued press pass will hold the same weight as one issued by the local police department or the event organizers.