Are Press Credentials Required?

The constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of the press, so you may be wondering if Press Credentials are really necessary in order to work as a journalist? Technically they are not, but as a practical matter, they often allow one to get very close to a news worthy event.

Press Credentials are not a requirement to be a good Journalist, but members of the press are validated by having something that usually grants them access to otherwise restricted areas to pursue Journalistic functions. When it comes to being granted an interview with a government official, or a press briefing, the press pass is worth it’s weight in gold.

Most jurisdictions require one to have locally recognized credentials in order to gain access to restricted areas, such as a crime, or accident scene. Understandably, for legitimate reasons access to some events might not be available to anyone, but except where national security, or a similar condition exists, freedom of the press must always be upheld without restriction.

Keep in mind that private events have the right to restrict entry to anyone including the press, but various private events will grant access to recognized members of the press. The best way to obtain access to restricted events is to present your press credentials in advance and request access. Your Press Credentials identify you, and validate your work.

Fair and honest coverage of an event is not only mandatory, but it will often win you friends in “high places.” This is especially useful when covering an ongoing story, or event. If officials in your area are not “press friendly,” politely remind them that you have the constitutional right to report on public events. In the case of scheduled events, or press conferences, it is often prudent to present your credentials in advance to the respective press organizations of the governor, the mayor, or the chief of police. Your iNA Press Pass validates you as a working member of the press. You will not likely experience many, if any closed doors, but whenever necessary, don’t be shy about politely reminding someone that in the United States, freedom of the press is the cornerstone of our society.

While not a prerequisite to work as a journalist, Press Credentials are excellent in validating who you are, and what you do. Keep in mind, they are a valuable tool to help you with what you do. They often open doors, and grant access to special events. So use them wisely and respectfully, and enjoy the benefits that they bring.