Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one? Pt III

In my search for obtaining a "press pass" several suggested I look into

The South Carolina Press Association

The SC Press Association only recognizes print and television media; not online news sources.

The SC Press Association also charges exorbitant fees to join and charges even more to create "press passes" - they even charge for the lanyard!

I've also found it rather ironic that The Pickens Sentinel (a local news source I would sorta kinda consider a competitor) posted this article from Bill Rogers; the Executive Director of the SC Press Association, within a few days of my first part of this series:

Newspapers A Vital Part Of The Community

In, this piece, the head of the SC Press Association is essentially deriding online news with bogus statistics and a case study done in Darlington, SC. It's almost comical in it's "1 apple + 1 orange = 2 apples" line of thinking.

I also looked into The Media Blogger's Association. I was once a part of this organization for this blog; being an honorary inductee. It seems as though they haven't updated their site in a long time and it's very spotty when it is updated. (It's essentially a side project for its founders.) Joining requires a somewhat bogus course in "legal action against bloggers" and a fee. I'm also not sure how credible you'd be seen by someone recognizing credentials at an entrance or "press gate". The name itself instantly brands you as a "blogger".

One worthwhile organization to be a part of is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF was crucial to me in a legal matter that I faced with FIXYOURTHINKING.COM. Membership costs "whatever you want to donate". They do good work in protecting "online journalism and blogging". They are somewhat controversial though and I'm certainly not for ALL of their projects. Once joined, you may want to put their logo on a press pass and put  "Member" under it. Something like what you see.

By far the most creative and simply functional "Press Pass" I've seen recently is that of a local freelancer named Vince Jackson. Vince freelances for The Anderson Independent and typically covers Pickens County "taxpayer" related news. I've found him at most political events I've attended. He's a great writer with thorough detail. He's also well respected in his relations with the public. He's one of the few local journalists that has a personality.

His answer to a press pass is a business card with the word "PRESS" on it. It also has his name, email and phone number.
Private information blurred
I met Vince at a recent event and told him I was about to "publish" the story behind his card in relation to this story. He gave me some interesting additions ...

Vince said, "You are who YOU say you are and if you act the part. If a guy hands you a business card, that's who he is. Well, that's who I am."

He also added this anecdote; asking if I had ever watched The Three Stooges very much.

I nodded "yes" and he explained one episode where the Stooges wanted to get into an event, but didn't have the money for admission. As they walked away from the ballpark, they saw a vending machine that had buttons on it that said, "PRESS". They removed the buttons from the machine, placed them on their hats and tied some broom handles together to look like tripods and went up to the gate ... pointed to their hats and were let in.

He said that's where he got the idea of the business card. Clever!

So I created my own ... with email and phone number on the reverse side ...

Lastly, I've been covering political campaigns pretty heavily. I've made sure one campaign has seen me and heard from me throughout their run for office. While I'm not expecting a return favor from this candidate - I do hope that when the Presidential race starts up in the summer that they might be able to pull a few strings to get me an interview with a pretty popular candidate.

So, do I need a press pass?

It depends.

Read parts I & II of this series:

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one?

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one? Pt II

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