What Determines Legitimate Press ID
It seems that some of the press card mills I have seen on the internet claim that one only needs a press card that “Looks Good” and it will get them access to many events. IPA however challenges that notion and continues to state that the IPA Press Card is only an identification card that confirms our members status, expirations date and profession when displayed.
We have also seen a comment from one of the press card mill websites GNS in Europe who we exposed with others in our security section of our main site decided to get even. They wrote a completely fake article, not one word was true, but they thought they needed to do this to fight back so they can continue to sell worthless cards that have no merit.
It is almost comical to see the story written in broken English. They were even kind enough to display our Press Kit package in this article. Anyone seeing our name, this fake article and what we offer our members FREE with membership, have been coming over to our site to sign up. Please don’t tell them about this, we don’t want them to pull the article down it has been helping our membership grow.
We only want to figure a way to have them also link to our site so photographers and journalists can save some time by not having to do a Google search. Once you see our three websites, our members work, our online magazine IMPress staffed by our IPA members, you will understand that no other media outlet in the world currently offers a program like ours.
Follow Our Program For Better Access
Of course to gain the important benefits IPA offers its members, a member must follow our step-by-step program, to be sure of gaining the many benefits of membership. As the Director of Member Services at IPA, I have also received some emails from time to time usually when a member had their accreditation or access request declined for a particular event. The reasons are usually the same for these refusals and I want to share a few tips here to help our members obtain some of the media access they may want.
As a member of the International Press Association, I have learned quickly that the press card is only one very small step to get accredited. What those that request access must realize is that the card is in fact the identification of an independent staff status at IPA and nothing more. It cannot prove that individual can in fact cover an event properly, or have the skills to report on the event in a professional manner or for photographers, that they know how to take a decent photo.
Those are some of the factors an organizer has to check in order to grant someone media access. Now it is not to say that some smaller events will allow just about anyone to enter by flashing what appears to be a legitimate Press Card. But today, more often than not, this is not the case.
Reasons For Refusal – Lack of Evidence of Ones Works
One of the most common reasons to refuse access is the lack of evidence that a member is actually a valid member of the press. The higher the profile of an event is the more likely that the organizer will check to see if the press card is valid but will also search the internet to make sure the candidate is a published member of the press. The organizers are not interested in giving media access even to highly skilled photographers who don’t publish their work. The reason they offer the media access to their event to members of the press is because they want the publicity and exposure to as many people as possible.
After all, isn’t that the reason they offer these courtesies? When they check out (vet) the credentials of someone seeking access and visit the website of the issuing company they have to be impressed by what they see. If they find it is a poorly made website or even better an individuals blog, they will refuse the request. If they can’t see any published work by the individual requesting access, the request will usually be denied.
Many ask for a direct link to a members published article or articles on their request form. Visit some event websites, click on their registration link and look for the link for the Press. View their requirements and you will see what they want. See the requirements for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas which we attended. You can see they want proof of your work and status in the media. Four IPA members attended this show and you can see the articles on IMPress.
At times a member might gain access simply because they are a member and those that check our site see we are a legitimate media outlet with thousands of members in our social networking groups. They understand that IPA and IMPress do have the ability to support their efforts by publishing great reviews, articles and photos on our sites, so our member who may not have published yet on our sites, may still gain that access based on who we are as an organization and our reputation. After all IPA has been in business now over 24 years and has a spotless reputation with support from many in our industry.
Now another common reason to get refused is the lack of space at the event for members of the press. Typically concerts have limits because of the area for photojournalists in front of the stage. As mentioned they will check the organization and the credibility of a member of the press. At times they will also ask what the monthly traffic is on those web-based media outlets.
They may even ask the geographic reach to be sure that the people they want to attend their event now or in the future will actually see the published work from one of our members. If they feel the reach, the audience that sees the articles or images are the ones they want, it will help to raise the chances that the member will be granted approval.
Tips On How To Raise Your Chances For Approval
Try to avoid starting your journey by applying for access to the most popular or highest profile events. The Academy Awards, The Cannes Film Festival and others in this category will usually be the first as these are most likely to decline your request especially if they don’t see articles that our site or you have published on similar events. Now if they see that you have covered other award shows, red carpet events or our site specializes in these types of events, even if you haven’t shown them your works covering these events, they may still grant the access, based on IPA.
Imagine trying to gain access to a major sport event and not being able to point them to any other major sports event article or photos on our websites. They will turn you down because you don’t “Reach Their Audience” and you won’t give them the publicity they way. Now if we had some articles on major sports on our sites, then you stand a better chance. So you need to be sure either you have published articles or photos on that type of event or someone at IPA has, it will increase your chances for that access you want.
Cover Smaller Events
Now smaller events are a wonderful way to build your portfolio and help you gain the confidence and understanding on how to gain access and credibility. Now I have attended some events that I paid for as a visitor to the event, simply because I wanted to cover the event and take the photos and write the article simply to build my professional portfolio which now shows I cover a lot of these events. In the beginning try this and get your work published, when you apply to other events now that are similar, you can then point them to your published works. Seeing you cover these events means to many that others have cleared you for this access, so they will too.
Whenever attending an event as member of the press, do your job and report about the event by publishing an article with photos on one of the websites of the International Press Association. This dramatically increases your credibility and will give you the experience needed to cover other events. After all IPA helps its members by not only showing you how, but helping edit your articles so they look polished and professional once published. We even help our photographers with simple fixes and advice on how to make their photos better for publication.
Be A Professional
The next step is to always act professional when seeking access. Remember, you are asking them free access to their events. It is a privilege when they grant you this access and not a law that says they must. Many concerts offer the photographers a very limited amount of time to take photos. They don’t want the performers to have to be concerned that their every move is being recorded and don’t want the audience to be disturbed.
Some events require signing additional forms such as artist release forms limiting the use of the photos taken for journalistic purposes and not for sale. If you sign these releases be sure to follow these rules even if the public continues to take photos, it is not worth your reputation or IPA’s to have you try to sell photos shot at these events, you can be barred from future events of all types or worse, you can be sued for breaking your signed agreement.
Once The Article Is Published
Now you have attended the event and you get home and it is time to go to work. You gather all your photos, clean them up and crop them in a photo editing program. You grab all your notes from the event, business cards people gave you that you interviewed and begin to create your article. Having business cards with websites on them helps you go to their sites to gather information about their companies.
It is easy to go to their About Us page and get some history and information about their products or services. Quite often you can grab their logo art of take a screen shot of their products to include in your articles. Visit our main site or IMPress and see how Len Rapoport does his, he has been covering events for a very long time.
Collect Business Cards
Once you are pleased with your article or images, now it is time to inform the organizer that the article has been published. We also like to send the email to those we might have interviewed at the show as well. It is a courtesy that should be followed.
They gave you their time and in some cases their products at the show, so let them help you gain the exposure when they put the link to your article on their websites or send it out via email. The more traffic to your work the better and the more credibility you and IPA will earn. Not only does it help your credibility, but the next time you see these same people, they get to know who you are and know you will do a good job at giving them the exposure they want.
Keep A Record Of Your Best Works
My last advice is to keep track of the events attended as well as where the articles and/or photos have been published. I created and maintain such a list in a PDF document that I will often attach to an email or Press Access Request form on their website. It helps me gain the access I want and shows them a long list of my published work.
Learning by doing is a great way to improve ones skills. By following these simple but important tips myself, I was able to attend a a great number of events including festivals, air shows, sport events and trade shows. Take a moment and view some of these shows and my work on the IMPress website.
I not only think the IPA press card has helped me in many situations where simply showing the card has gained me access or benefits, but is required when picking up your Press Badge at these events. Without showing the card to the Press Officer you won’t be able to pick up your badge. After all, you could complete the form and claim you work for a major Newspaper, but when you get their you have to prove it and prove who you are. Imagine claiming to be a reporter from a major media outlet.
They go to check your work under that name and of course approve you. Now you go to pick up the pass under this stolen identity and can’t show any supporting pass or documents that you are in fact that person. It is fraud and can get you in serious trouble.
We have continued to monitor use of outdated, expired and fake IPA press cards and their use see our article about the danger using these cards. It will help you understand the importance of doing things the right way and not trying to cut corners simply to gain access to an event you would like to attend. Be honest, do your work as promised, be grateful for the access they gave you and thank them after the event for giving you the access when you send them the link to your work.
Other Benefits of Membership
Members who have not had an opportunity to use their membership for access to attractions, hotels, tours and other opportunities that are not trade shows or concerts should do so. Understand that your membership will allow you to contact these attractions, hotels or other opportunities to request this access. Most sites will have a Press or Media link and then have information on either obtaining free passes for the press or requesting that access. At hotels, cruises and resorts it can also mean a substantial discount or upgrade and private tours or interviews with their managers. You will usually need to provide them with information on your visit and links to your published works on our websites.
Travel Benefits If You Do The Work
You can see that Len completed a review of his cruise on the Independence of the Seas one of the largest ships in the Royal Caribbean International’s fleet. Read the review to see how RCL supported his efforts and gave him the access he needed to interview all of their senior ships officers. In return he produced a wonderful narrated tour of the ship that has received over 150,000 YouTube views and a similar number of reads on his article. Watch his video to see the work he put into this production and the rewards which included the cruise for him and his wife, VIP treatment on board the ship, dining at their specialty restaurants and credibility and exposure for his work.
If you visit the IMPress site you will see Len Rapoport’s many reviews at Hotels, Resorts and Cruises plus reviews of area attractions too.
You Will Learn By Doing – Do The Work, Enjoy The Benefits
So remember, you must do the work and build your professional profile on our sites. If you have the skills you will be invited to join our staff at IMPress and once you begin to publish there it is relatively easy to gain important media access. Of course for the past 23 years our members have been able to gain that access on our main site, but now IMPress is truly being recognized as the premier publication of the International Press Association, so it is up to you to do the work and enjoy the benefits of that work.
We are always here to help our members on a one-on-one basis and will answer any legitimate questions about gaining media access. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions that is not already answered in articles like this on our websites. We need active members to contribute their works to our websites. It is the only way IPA can maintain its credibility and build our traffic and exposure for our many members.