Whether you want to write about or photograph the upcoming Paul McCartney concert or the winter Olympic games, one thing always remains true -- you need press credentials. Without a valid press pass, a writer, photographer or broadcaster cannot gain the necessary access to cover an event, including going backstage to interview a band or taking photographs front and center.
Identify yourself. To earn media credentials, you need to be able to prove that you are employed by a legitimate publication, whether it's a website, print newspaper or weekly magazine. Be sure to have press identification that you can readily present, if asked, such as a card issued by your company or a business card with your full name, job title and contact information.
Contact the publicist or press coordinator for the event. It helps to do this at least one month before the event actually takes place. If you are unsure as to the contact person's phone number or email address, browse the event's website or call the company organizing it. Speak to the publicist and request press credentials. Be prepared to answer any questions she might have for you, including details about your publication, what kind of piece you plan on doing, how long you plan on covering the event and whether you wish to take pictures, as well.
Find out how you will receive your press pass. If you are granted credentials, make sure you know exactly where and when you will receive them. For example, you might be allowed to pick them up at the ticket window as will call on the night of a concert. The publicist also may just send them directly to you. Make sure you know as soon as possible in order to avoid any confusion.
Inquire about the specific details of your media credentials. For example, if you are a photographer, you may only be permitted to stay for the first few songs in a musical act's set.
Ask about rules and guidelines before you show up to cover an event. If you disobey the rules, you risk the chance of having your credentials taken away.