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Press passes for Freelancers?

How would I go about getting one? I don’t shoot for an agency or a specific paper, so is there an organization that makes them or how does it work?  Thanks John

by John Roark at 2005-10-18 10:35:31 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Portland, ME , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Come to Moscow I’ll get you one – International Federation of Journalists press card  or something like that  I think )).

by [former member] | 18 Oct 2005 11:10 (ed. Oct 18 2005) | Moscow, Russia | | Report spam→
You can just use photoshop and make an ID card that says “PRESS” and “PHOTO” then in smaller letters “freelance” slap your photo on it, your address, and point of contact (anyone really). Get it laminated at kinkos and you’re set. Don’t expect to let it give you too many privledges though.

by Mark Gong | 18 Oct 2005 11:10 (ed. Oct 18 2005) | Washington D.C., United States | | Report spam→
Back in the 1980’s a colleague at the San Jose Mercury went to Mexico City to cover the earthquake. He had forgotten his press cards. His gym membership card had an ID picture on it and he just put the card on a chain around his neck. He got thru all the police lines. Alot of it is attitude (not ‘having’ attitude—but acting as a professional) and just knowing what you’re doing. The police generally know who the pros are by the photographer’s attitude. Having a couple of cards on a chain around your neck helps, too.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 18 Oct 2005 15:10 | Fort Worth, United States | | Report spam→
You could try the NPPA


by [former member] | 18 Oct 2005 15:10 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
thanks guys thats kind of what ive gathered, and dmitry see you next week later.  John

by John Roark | 18 Oct 2005 17:10 | Portland, ME, United States | | Report spam→
looks a little cheesey, but:

by [former member] | 18 Oct 2005 17:10 | Brooklyn, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Call the Portland Police Department and ask them what you need to apply for a press credential.  There might be something online.

by Thomas Michael Corcoran | 18 Oct 2005 17:10 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Erica, you’re right. I read their website and it looks like a complete scam. I’ve seen these ‘buy a press pass’ websites before. They are aimed for poser/stalker types who want into concerts, sports game, whatever. I’m sure they make money….

by Morgan Hagar | 18 Oct 2005 18:10 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
i made my own press pass using photoshop about a year ago and it has worked fine.  i have never been turned away and have gotten into some pretty high-security areas, including the ground-zero pit on this year’s 9/11 anniversary. the key is including official looking details like offical seals and a bar code, you cant mess with the bar code.  if you email me i will send you the template i made.

if you want to go the legitimate route…i had to go down to police headquarters here in nyc to get a real one.  i’m sure it is a similar procedure in portland. 

good luck.

by Dan Eckstein | 19 Oct 2005 07:10 (ed. Oct 19 2005) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for all the responses. jethro I called the police dept. and they were like noo we don’t have those so I said whatever,  Who did you shoot for when you were here, you know Mo at the forecaster?  Thanks again john

by John Roark | 19 Oct 2005 09:10 | Portland, ME, United States | | Report spam→
How many of these threads do we really need?


And why does it seem there is such a disconnect between a PRESS PASS and a simple PHOTOGRAPHER ID CARD

Press passes are issued by an event holder or police department granting press access to a specific event or scene. It is just that, a pass. A photographer ID card is issued by an agency such as a newspaper or TV station and serves as an employee ID, it serves no legal permission or access to anything.

Most of my photographer ID’s issued by the local newspapers and media outlets even state on many of them on the back that this ID card dies not entitle me to any legal permissions. Any such access to events or scenes are courtesy only.

Somewhere over the course of the past 25 years, there’s this mentality that a media identification card has been coined a press pass and now carries some special permit that allows journalists a form of additional access or private.

Even wiki now seems to be written to give the impression that a press pass entitles people to special privileges. I swear, I’m starting to understand what my college professors and first editors I worked with were ranting about twenty years ago.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 19 Jun 2009 22:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Approach the IFJ (or affiliate) in the USA?

Here in NZ it is a Union – union membership and a short application form is all you need to get a real one, so no need to muck about with Photoshop!

by Marcus Adams | 19 Jun 2009 23:06 (ed. Jun 19 2009) | Wellington, New Zealand | | Report spam→
I think the misconception of the almighty press pass lies in the fact that people will see a credentialed press person show up and simply flash their credentials and the proverbial sea parts allowing them to walk right in. What they don’t see is the days, weeks, months and even years of correspondence between editors, media personnel and event coordinators scheduling that access. So contrary to popular belief we don’t just get a wild hair up our ass show up with the “Key to the candy store” and waltz right in because we have a press pass. There is quite a bit of work involved in gaining access prior to most events. I have been corresponding for about two years now to secure access to an event so that I can cover it and so far it’s been a serious pain in the ass. In the end once I finish jumping through all of the hoops and filling out all the forms in triplicate it probably won’t be worth it.

by Nick Morris | 20 Jun 2009 04:06 | San Diego CA, United States | | Report spam→
Good post Nick.
It’s a simple bet that pretty much everyone above (but Aaron) is about 12 years old, with a digital Rebel hanging around their throat with a “look at me I’m a Phot-o-ographer” let me in, I got me this press pass that says ya gotta….

Children with no concept of the business…but they got a camera!!!

by George “Funky’ Brown | 20 Jun 2009 04:06 | Kirkuk, Iraq | | Report spam→
See, George, this was what scared me about the digital technology back in the early 90’s. Any kid with a 400 dollar digital rebel and an ink jet printer is suddenly a professional photojournalist regardless of training, education or experience.

I seldom ever use my pass(es), I never need them, I have them, they sit inside the back pocket of my Domke. I suppose people see the D2Xs and the D3 and just sorta know what I am. No one in their right mind is going to trudge around in thirty pounds of gear like that for the fun of it. Probably why people always come up and ask if I can take Little bobby’s Picture with the ducks and get it in the paper.

Frankly, I think press passes are more trouble than they are worth. They call you out in a crowd, people take notice of you and in my opinion just make you a target for harassment by pretty much anyone. Best use for a pass I ever had was I had one dangling on my bag and it attracted a young journalist major from GMU. Sadly she had a boyfriend, so it really didn’t help me that much.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 20 Jun 2009 21:06 (ed. Jun 20 2009) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
This thread got me thinking. When I was a senior in high school nearly twenty years ago, and decided I was going to go to college for photojournalism, I went to work for a small weekly newspaper. The paper was in a small town but had county wide distributions and had several editions for several local towns in Frederick County, MD. The paper was called The Glade Times & Mountain Mirror. The Editor was Tom Mills, former Frederick News-Post EIC who had roots in Morgantown, WV. Sadly he is now deceased.

When I went to ask if I could shoot for him, his first comment was that he didn’t want any “Artsy Farts Crap.” In retrospect it was the harshest thing I think he ever said to me. Tom was a very soft spoken man, and was willing to work with young journalists, something I think is lacking in the industry today, His next comment was that this was a small weekly newspaper, don’t expect to do any hard (spot) news.

I was seventeen then and very eager to get out there. Most all of the work I would get was covering local fireman banquet’s, Little Bobby Wins First Place in Science Fair and so forth. One day after BS’ing with some of the PJ’s who I would see regularly from the Frederick News-Post such as Sam Yu or Skip Lawrence, I noticed they had these nice shiny press asses, so I went and asked Tom for one.

Of course Tom hada big grin oin his face and told me, that in twenty years of running the GTM no one has ever asked to see credentials or an ID. And why should they seeing how this was a small community paper. And over the years everyone knew who he and his staff were. But Tom sighed and told me if I want to make something up on the computer and leave a signature line he would sign it.

As happy as a kid could be I made a card on the PC with the GTM title and plopped in a picture, and had him sign it. I was tickled pink to have an official pres pass from ma news paper I couldn’t explain how excited I was to have it, and how people would ask me about my job at the paper. Of course, this soon grew old as I would get questioned daily. Same questions a day after day, “can you take my kids pictures”, or “why doesn’t the press seem to care about accidents on this road, we’ve had three here this month alone?”.

I really started to get annoyed, and as time went on, I started not to keep my pass out. Of course in those days I was shooting with either a Pentax K1000, which lead to a series on Minolta cameras (Maxxum 9000, 7000i and an 2xi) and note Tom was still shooting Tri-X out of an AE-1. The camera never gathered any attention whatsoever.

Of course by the time I got to a point where I was hooting Nikon F4s and F5, I never had the press pass visible, but it was pretty quick people would recognize the gear and know what I was doing. (I was at the Gazette shooting freelance at this point in the early 00’s

The pass does not legitimize you, as we are learning from the events unfolding in Iran right now, anyone on Twitter or Facebook can claim to be a journalist, the pass does nothing to make you stand out. (Wiki Media issues their own press passes too)

The moral to the story is it’s not the pass that makes you a member of the press, it’s not the gear or the image either, but it’s the work you are doing. Acting professional and doing your job is what legitimizes what you do as a journalist.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 20 Jun 2009 21:06 (ed. Jun 20 2009) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I rarely find a use for mine. If I have to shoot official engagements covering visiting Heads of State or that sort of thing, the Government Press Officers require one as photo ID to get into the Press areas, but that is about the only time.

Maybe if I had one that said ‘Getty’ or ‘Magnum’ on it….?! ;-)

In some places (such as Fiji just now) it is something I would leave at home, as if it is found it is likely to get me deported!

by Marcus Adams | 20 Jun 2009 21:06 | Wellington, New Zealand | | Report spam→
Jehad Nga and I were shooting at a small event a couple of weeks ago where we were told we had to wear press passes while shooting. When the staff came back with them, they were flimsy plastic card holders on a blue string with a piece of white paper and only the word “PRESS” in inch-high Arial letters.

by [former member] | 20 Jun 2009 22:06 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→

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John Roark, Photographer John Roark
Twisp, Wa , United States
Mark Gong, Photojournalist Mark Gong
Washington, Dc , United States
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Spring Lake, Michigan , United States
Thomas Michael Corcoran, journalist/photographer Thomas Michael Corcoran
Washington, Dc , United States
Morgan Hagar, Documentary Photographer Morgan Hagar
Documentary Photographer
Los Angeles, Ca , United States
Dan Eckstein, Photographer Dan Eckstein
[undisclosed location].
Aaron J. Heiner, Photojournalist Aaron J. Heiner
(Sleeping his life away)
Baltimore, Md , United States ( IAD )
Marcus Adams, Photographer & Guide Marcus Adams
Photographer & Guide
(Guide, Photographer & Fixer)
Singapore , Singapore
Nick Morris, Photojournalist/Photograp Nick Morris
(The Image Group Photography)
San Diego Ca , United States
George “Funky’ Brown, Photographer George “Funky’ Brown
1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment At Patrol Base Murray , Iraq


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