A 2014 study from the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Journalist’s Resource project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, “Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States,” is the first of its kind to perform a quantitative examination of media credentialing in the United States. It surveys the experience of more than 1,300 newsgatherers of various kinds throughout the country in their efforts to obtain media credentials from different types of credentialing organizations from 2008 to 2013. The authors are Jeffrey Hermes, John Wihbey, Reynol Junco and Osman Tolga Aricak.
The study’s findings include:
“The survey results suggest a need for deeper inquiry into the results discussed above,” the authors conclude, “perhaps through a survey of particular credentialing organizations or interviews with journalists who have been granted or denied credentials by these gatekeepers.Further understanding of the points of tension between the journalists who need access and the organizations that control access will allow for more effective attempts to resolve such tension through negotiation, policy making, or legislation.”
- One out of every five respondents who applied for a credential was denied by a credentialing organization at least once.
- Certain categories of applicants are more likely to be denied than others: freelance journalists were significantly less likely to receive media credentials than employed journalists.
- Photographers were more likely to be denied than non-photographers.
- Respondents who identified themselves as activists were more likely to be denied than those respondents who did not.