Often, which and what kind of events you cover will determine which style of press credentials will be more appropriate for you. High profile events of international interest are most strict of all and require more information up front or on the scene.
PRESS PASSPORT or PRESS BADGE?
The IFPO Press PASSPORT folio is the most prestigious credential offered and is included only with AI News Service Universal or USPRESSCORPS.ORG Press Program. It offers additional information that matches your passport or driver’s license (when a second ID is required). It is the style of credential that is most commonly issued by national and international publications for their staff and field photojournalists. It is best used for higher security events or for events which are highly organized (concerts, professional sports, government events etc) where you apply prior to the event and then, if approved, are issued a badge or armband for that event only. Press passports are available optionally with the American Image Gold Press cards.
The PRESS PASSPORT’s use and functionality
Upon arrival at the press office, you would present your Press Passport folio as identification. Once the official is satisfied that you are who you say you are and that you are affiliated with a recognized publication or news organization, they will issue you some form of identification (arm band, clip on badge, etc.). At this point, you would return your own passport credential to your pocket or camera bag and use the press pass issued for that event only. It is the ease with which the PRESS PASSPORT credentials may be retrieved and returned to your pocket that make them perfect for the high profile, tough events. Also, their common use and acceptance by the general press make them the credentials of choice for photojournalists.
The PRESS BADGE’s use and functionality
There are many events you will cover that are not organized or pre-planned. Breaking news events such as auto accidents and crime scenes are good examples. In these circumstances, there are no press gates or check-in points. The only officials present may be police or firefighters. They are there to ensure public safety. In these circumstances, the badge style credential is useful since you can wear it and it is easily visible to the safety officials. They will understand that you are there to do a job and will usually allow you access to areas restricted to the general public – unless there is a safety danger. For the broadest flexibility in your coverage of news and entertainment events, it is a good idea to have both styles (press passport and press badge) of press credentials.
In addition to press IDs, there are many other options for improving recognition while on a press assignment. Press hats, equipment tags that compliment your press cards enhance the profile of a freelance press member. Embroidered patches can turn any photographer’s vest, jacket or hat into a more recognizable reinforcement of the actual press IDs. Recognition is the key to success.