NPPA Participating In New Survey Of Media Credentialing Practices

Sep 13, 2013 Advocacy

DURHAM, NC (September 13, 2013) – The National Press Photographers Association is a participating partner in a new survey of media credentialing practices.

NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said that the organization is pleased to join with the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, together with the Investigative News Network, Free Press, Journalist’s Resource, and the Nieman Journalism Lab, in this new study on media credentialing. 

“In many ways, newsgathering rights in the United States are a structure built on shifting sands,” said Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project. “It is crucial for the future of journalism that we learn more about how these rights are allocated by those who control access.”

Even as the very concept of journalism evolves to accommodate dramatic new ways of gathering and interacting with information of critical public importance, the idea of media credentials remains deeply embedded in the practice of journalism in the United States. Dozens of laws at both the state and federal levels condition the right to engage in newsgathering activity on the receipt of credentials; police departments use press identification to separate journalists from protestors subject to arrest; and political parties limit access to vital aspects of the democratic process to those approved by campaigns. And yet, systemic understanding of credentialing practices and standards is very poor, with public attention normally being limited to discrete issues as they arise.

The new study is designed to develop a nationwide overview of credentialing practices over the last five years, in order to identify emerging norms and systemic issues in how credentials are used by government entities and private organizations to control newsgathering activity. The core of the study is an online survey that asks journalists and others who gather and report information of public importance to provide information about their experiences in applying for and obtaining media credentials from federal, state, and private entities in the United States. The survey will generate data that can be made available to the public, used as a platform for further study, and form a basis for developing measures to improve conditions for journalism as a whole.

“Understanding how journalists are identified and categorized by government entities is of critical importance in helping to ensure our ability to gather and disseminate news,” said Osterreicher. “We hope as many people as possible will take this survey to provide us with that critical information,” he added.  

“We welcome participation in the survey from all who consider themselves to be involved in gathering news for publication, including professional and citizen journalists, activists who publish news content as part of their activism, and independent bloggers who write about current events. If that sounds like you, you can take the survey. We hope you will join with us in this effort!”

The survey is online here

For more information contact Osterreicher lawyer@nppa.org