Press access


TPF Noob!
May 23, 2008
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I am working for a newspaper now and have only needed to use my press pass for one event, unfortunately at that event, I was told that I needed to pre register to get press access to the event. So I had no choice but to go in as a regular spectator, and take pictures from where I could go. What I would like to know is, how often do you have to pre register to get press access, is it rare, or do you generally have to sign up ahead of time? Thanks a lot!
Always make contact first, over here thats the way it goes otherwise everyone with a camera and the means to forge a pass would be marching in unannounced. H
Often events will release information that will indicate what kind of access is granted-- open press would mean that if you have a press ID (or in some cases not even that) you can enter as press, some require preregistration, some events only let in who they want, etc etc. When I was doing campaign coverage last year the AP would release this info on their site, but probably that will only be a good source for major national events like campaign stops.
Ptyler 22

It isn't rare with events in the UK, for example.

Contact the venue - who put you onto the organisers -
who maybe refer you to their PR company.

But more often these days, you register online (and get
a 'badge #) and state how many 'complimentary tickets'
you need. These arrive in the post.
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Ah, the age-old question: "How come my press pass didn't work?"

Sorry to hear about your experience. As a working photojournalist, I can tell you that yours is not unique. Here in the U.S. press access is determined by a number of factors the first being what event you are trying to cover.

As stated above, campaign coverage with open press is usually easy to gain access to. At an event with President Obama last month though I witnessed quite a few journalists being turned away at the door after not getting pre-registration taken care of in advance.

The best thing to do before going to an event (with adequate credentials) is to contact the event organizers before and inquire about what credentials you will need. It's pretty easy as most major events have a press kit or contact that is released before the fact. Tell them who you are working for and what you will need and they are usually pretty cool with helping you out. I always ask for a contact name (and possibly cell phone if I can get one) before so if I hit a snag when I arrive I have a name to drop or a cell phone I can call.

If all else fails, just turn on the charm.

"Oh, you're kidding me! I didn't realize that there was a pre-registration for this event. Do you think there is someone I can talk to about getting inside? My editors are not going to be happy with me at all if I don't get some good photos from your event today."

That, believe it or not, is a surprisingly effective route that works more often than not. I also try this one if the person manning the entrance seems to be cool or a volunteer who might not care or know better.

"Come on buddy. Can't I just get in for 30 minutes? I won't get in the way and just need to get a photo or two before I get out of here."

Finally, if all of the above fail, I always carry $100 in cash in my pocket to bribe my way in. My editors always reimburse me for it and have an understanding that it probably wasn't my fault in the first place that we lacked the pre-registration needed to get in. Also, on that note, I found that Rueters and AP shooters often will tell the event organizers that you're with them if you slip them the cash instead of the security guy.

If all else fails, do what you did. Just get photos from the best place possible.

Bottom line: When at first you don't succeed, try and try again. It's amazing the access you can gain when you don't take "No" for the answer right off the bat.
OK, thanks a lot guys! Lots of good advice, here, looks like I will call the venues ahead of time to make sure I can get access, and if that fails I'll go with In2daBlue's advice and try to "persuade them" to let me in.
Does anyone have any experience getting press access at Limerock by any chance?

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