Credential FAQ

Access as a freelancer...

You do not need government approval to work as a journalist. 

Press credentials related to news coverage are usually issued by law enforcement agencies or the organizer of a particular event. 

Requirements for the issuance of credentials will vary based on the event and even those involved. Some agencies or venues will not recognize some credentials. The US Press Association helps to assure that you ARE recognized by providing you with trusted and verifiable credentials.
Specific press passes are usually provided by the organizers of the event, i.e. sporting events, concerts, festivals, press conferences, corporate meetings etc.

The USPA provides its members with a Photo ID and working press credentials (press card). The USPA ID serves as a verifiable form of identification that lets those in charge of event admittance know that you are indeed a journalist and are there for the specific purpose of covering that event in a professional newsworth manner. It is important to note that not just any press credential or ID will not entitle you to greater access than that of the general public or grant you any special privilege or admittance. Your USPA membership and press ID (press card) will help identify you to organizations and subjects who may be requesting such information.

It is also very important to realize that nothing about being a journalist entitles you to free access to private events like sporting events or rock concerts. Organizers to these events often grant credentials to members of the working press in order to make it easier to cover and photograph the event. Such enhanced access is controlled by the event organizers. If you are shooting the event on assignment for a publication, the assigning editor may be required to request the credentials on your behalf. If you are not shooting the event on assignment for an organization, you may still attempt to obtain credentials through the same channels. While every event is different, most will have a specific public relations or press contact person. As a member of the USPA we often find a contact or person who handles media inquiries on your behalf. 
If the event is run by a governmental agency, they may be required to grant equal access to all members of the media. In such cases, it will be your burden to show that you are actually covering the event as a member of the media and not just looking for a free ticket or better access than that of the general public. If you do not meet the requirements to obtain a press credential, you may be required to pay an admission fee to enter the event if you wish to attend. Please note that many events prohibit photography or recording of the event/performance and that purchasing a ticket is for admission purposes only, subject to other restrictions. Never assume that that because you have purchased a ticket to an event that you may also photograph or record the event/performance. Also be aware that event press credentials may also contain certain restrictions. It is extremely important to read any agreements before signing them. By accepting press credentials you may be waiving certain rights, including the copyright to your images!
The USPA is here to help guide you through these processes... 

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