What counts as an "accredited news publication"?
June 18, 2007 1:58 PM   Subscribe

What counts as an "accredited news publication"?

Is there some kind of organization that gives accreditation to newspapers, periodicals, or broadcast outlets? Or do you just start publishing and your track record is your accreditation?

I ask because in order to get access to certain kinds of embargoed news one has to be a editor or writer for an "accredited news publication." Is this a judgment call on the part of the granting organization, or is there an objective way to assess this?
posted by ObeyScient to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I believe it means that your publication's circulation figures have been audited and having passed the audit, are now accredited..
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:45 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: NASA's policy on accreditation is pretty typical. Journalists employed by news organizations listed in the major directories will be accredited with no questions asked, while others will be accedited according to guidelines and subjective judgement. It's up to each organization, but I suspect most wires that carry embargoed news have similar standards.
posted by backupjesus at 2:50 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: I think that the phrase "accredited news publication" is just sloppy language in whatever embargo policy you're looking at. There's no formal accreditation process.

As a journalist, you can get credentials of sorts -- belonging to National Association of Science Writers, for example, might get you into certain press rooms or help you get access to embargoed information.
posted by cgs06 at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2007

Best answer: Some times when applying for press passes in the past, I've found that one criteria often used is if the publication supports itself through subscriptions or the sale of advertising, it's considered a legitimate news source. But even then, there were exceptions. In general, the process always seemed pretty pro forma, and meant more to keep out people who just want free admittance, or a backstage-look at whatever newsmaker the pass is for (rather than trying to create some de facto standard what a 'real' legitimate news outlet is). I've seen applications for press passes that required little more than a business card or a piece of letterhead to prove you're legit. At smaller venues or organizations, often you just ask for a press pass, no verification required (if there is a press pass system in place at all).

But in answer to your question, no, there is no 'official' accrediting agency or group that determines what is a news publication or not. Likewise, there is no licensing exam to become a journalist. Any government involvement in this process would be a pretty clear violation of the freedom of the press, of course.
posted by Eldritch at 3:02 PM on June 18, 2007

When I was in PR, the person ultimately running the event that involved embargoed information was usually responsible for deciding who was and wasn't going to get accredited for said event, and people who had either previously shown that they could handle an embargo and not go OMG I KNOW A SEKRIT or people who worked for large/reputable/old outlets went to the top of the pile. Joe from Joe's Blog, unless he had a history of covering an event responsibly, was not going to be given a shot in a case like that.

Does that answer your question at all?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:41 PM on June 18, 2007

In the U.S., the government does not have the right to limit or define "the press." Says so right in the First Amendment to the Constitution, approximately.

Non-government types, such as businesses, have a lot more freedom to. They can define "the press" as just TV, radio, newspapers, or they can include news web sites and blogs, or some mix of the bunch, or something else entirely.

The government does have the right to make you jump through hoops, sometimes. For example, when I covered a presidential event, I had to submit a great deal of personal information in order to get a press pass that will give me access. The personal information is used to conduct a background check to make sure I'm not a psychopath or criminal.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:57 PM on June 18, 2007

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