Press Passes: Which Jobs Require a Press Pass and How to Get One

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Press passes: when you need them, you really need them; and if you’ve ever needed one, you know just what we mean. But what is a press pass, and why get one? What kinds of jobs require them anyway, and where is the best place to get them? In this article, we will answer these questions and more—and by the end, you will understand the importance of sourcing your press passes, and that not all media privileges are created equally!

What Is a Press Pass?

First of all, what is a press pass and how does it work? In essence, a press pass gives the bearer exclusive access to noteworthy events, such as political rallies, live sports games, public events, holidays, cultural celebrations, and more. These press photo ID badges will not only allow industry professionals to get up close to the “action” but will also often allow for exclusive interviewing rights or opportunities to speak with their subject as well.

What Is the Difference Between a Press Pass and a Journalism Pass?

The primary difference between a press pass and a journalism pass is the latter merely indicates that the wearer is a member of the media and a practicing journalist—whereas press passes can come with international and federal implications and open many more doors, both in the United States and abroad. If you are unsure whether or not you need a journalism pass or a press pass, contact the helpful staffed desk at International Freelance Photographers Organization (IFPO) now! 

What Is Required to Obtain a Press Pass?

Not just anyone can get their hands on a real, legitimate press pass, however—and for good reason. With more accessibility to elite athletes, politicians, and other public figures, press passes often carry more heft than a simple journalism pass and can provide opportunities for deeper insight and coverage of an event. To get one of these passes, a media professional will need to prove:

  • That within the last two years, the member has published media coverage pieces—either online or in print
  • Within the last two years, the member has published at least three audio/visual coverages pieces or 15 consecutive minutes of footage
  • That within the last five years, the member has published an anthology or book by an independent publisher
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Top Jobs Requiring Official Press Passes and When to Use Your Press Pass

As you may have surmised, press passes are most valuable to those working for the press in some capacity—whether through an established media outlet or as a freelance journalist, photographer, or photojournalist. There are many instances when a press pass comes in handy, including:

  • Press conferences
  • Corporate summits or annual gatherings
  • Crime scenes
  • High profile weddings
  • Sporting events like NFL football games

…and many other relevant public events! If you’re interested in learning more about the types of significant stories a press pass will get you access to as a media industry worker, check out our recent article on the topic here! 

Where to Get Proven, Respected Press Passes

As you’ve learned, the terms “journalism pass” and “press pass” are not interchangeable. In fact, one is significantly more beneficial than the other—but generally comes at a higher cost. That’s why organizations like the IFPO have cultivated a tiered press pass system, so you can choose the right international press pass for your particular career path. So, how do you choose the right press pass? Here are the three offerings presented by industry giants IFPO:

  1. Gold Press Program: Especially if you are just getting started in the industry of news and media coverage, a gold press pass is perfect for a local worker. Covering small, regional events, a gold press is all you will need for access to stories and opportunities to cover them—and they are also the most affordable option. However, the Gold Press Passes do not work internationally, or even nationwide—so if you’re ready to graduate to the next level pass, look into the U.S. Press Corps Pass!
  2. U.S. Press Corps: With a range spanning from the entirety of North America to much of Western Europe, this level of press pas is designed to get the wearer into all sorts of events—even the toughest. In fact, U.S. Press Corps badges can even provide other benefits like easier access, preferential treatment, discounts, and more. This tier of press pass is generally reserved for the more experienced professionals and is more widely recognized than many other forms of American-issued press passes.
  3. AINS Universal Press Credentials: IFPO’s most elite press pass tier, this level of media access garners preferential treatment for the most experienced photographers and journalists in the world. It opens access to exclusive and sometimes dangerous coverage opportunities, such as natural disasters, war zones, and more. Accepted internationally, this press pass opens essentially any door a journalist may wish to open in pursuit of their story—though it does come with a more significant expense, and a certain amount of industry experience is expected.

Best Tiered Press Passes with IFPO--Enroll Today!

Now that you know the differences between the available press passes out there, you can move forward with confidence and distinction! No matter where you’re at in your media career journey—whether you are working as an independent, freelance photographer or a journalist for the New York Times, the IFPO offers industry-leading access as one of the first foundational members offering international, exclusive press coverage passes.

To apply for one of these globally-recognized press passes, enroll in IFPO today, or check out an overview of our press credentials here!