What is a press pass? What is the US Press Association press pass?

The term “press pass” can mean several different things. Primarily it depends on who you ask, and even where you are? Media organizations including the US Press Association “The USPA”, issue their members or in some cases employees press credentials which are often referred to as a press pass.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A press pass (alternatively referred to as a press card or a journalist pass) grants some type of special privilege to journalists. Some cards have recognized legal status; others merely indicate that the bearer is a practicing journalist. The nature of the benefits is determined by the type of issuing agency, of which there are three major categories: news organizations, law-enforcement agencies, and event organizers (usually for a specific single affair like a corporate press conference). Each type of card grants different authorizations, thus it is often necessary or desirable for reporters to hold multiple press passes simultaneousl

It is important to realize that depending on your role in journalism or media, the term press pass can range in meaning. Simply having an ID that was issued to you by a media outlet does not give you the ability to go anywhere or enter any facility of your choosing.

It’s unfortunate but there are some websites that blur the lines to make it seem the card they are offering to sell you will somehow allow you to access various places or simply enter all venues. If your "press pass" isn't backed by a media outlet or some type of organization, the "press pass" you are making is worth about as much as the paper you printed it on. Truth about press passes is, if you are wanting to attend an event or access a venue you would need a “press pass” or media pass issued by (management, publicists, PR personnel, venue security) to name a few.

In order to receive this pass, it often needs to be requested ahead of time, and there is typically a deadline for making such requests. In the instance of a photographer being assigned a pass for photographing a concert or acting as a freelancer, the expectation of showing up to take pictures the day of a concert and expecting to have access to either the pit or backstage is just ridiculous. It may be possible to attend under general admission, but you will probably be limited to a fixed lens (non DSLR) camera. The odds of finding yourself with either pit or backstage access are extremely slim.

Photographers wanting and requesting this type of access do so well in advance as their access needs to be facilitated by sometimes multiple contacts including artists management.This is a key difference you will find between the US Press Association and the less than forthcoming websites trying to take advantage of enthusiastic newcomers to the field of journalism and media.

Rather than claiming to offer a card that gives it’s holder the ability to go wherever they want, our approach is to actually help our members through the process. While some members already have prior experience and use their USPA press pass and credentials to secure specific press/media passes on their own, if a member is either just starting out in the field or doesn’t know the process or who to contact, the US Press Association is here to help with any complexities that may arise.

The USPA Press Pass and credentials are internationally recognized and we have helped our members with a wide range of industry specific issues for the past two decades. 

Become part of the US Press Association “The USPA” today, and see how we can help you. 

Choose your membership, receive your USPA press pass and authentic USPA credentials.

Trust the original, The USPA - The US Press Association