There is a common misconception that all you need is a press card or a business card to get access to an event as a member of the fourth estate. The fact is that you need a press pass to access most ticketed events such as concerts, football games, and events where the president is in attendance. Press passes are passes that gives you admittance to different events. They are also important because they prove to firefighters, police, security, and other persons that you are at the event lawfully and that you are not a mere bystander. So, how do you go about getting press passes?
You could get a press card from a trade organization like ours – International Association of Press Photographers. All you need to do is sign up with the trade organization and to pay a renewable fee. You get to benefit from press conditions, exchange of experiences, and networking with such as press card.
Some event organizers also issue press passes. In such an event, the first step is submitting press credentials that help identify that you are actually a journalist. These credentials are requested by journalists and the firm that has been contracted to handle media requests (or a security team such as the police) goes through the formal requests and accepts some and denies others. The request for press credentials must be written on the letter head of the media organization from which the journalist is coming from. If you work for a small-time news outlet, you are a blogger, or you are in any other non mainstream news sector, send documentation proving this.
If you have written to the team in charge of media relations at the event and received a positive feedback, you are good to go and all you have to do is to wait for the event. If you have a press card from a trade organization, you will need to convince the team in charge of media relations that you should be granted access to the event. You will be required to explain such things as what you are after.
The same application should be followed when seeking blanket press passes from organizations such as the police or a school. Note that seeking press passes for such places as prisons require background checks.
It pays to network while at events. Interacting with such people as the police and other emergency services and the team responsible for media relations is advantageous in that you are more likely to get an exclusive and you are more likely to get admittance to future events respectively. Follow the professional code of ethics so as not to jeopardize your chances of future admittance.
Press passes come with vehicle IDs that help you park at a place that is designated for the press. You will also be able to get away with parking on such places as resident only parking slots (but you cannot park in front of a fire hydrant, a parking meter, or any other place that is prohibited by the law).