Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Jason Stverak, discusses the issue of press credentials and who gets them.
It’s another branch of an issue Journalism.co.uk reported on earlier this week after a citizen journalism news wire Demotix was criticised for handing out its own press passes to some of its contributors.
Stverak argues that staff cuts at traditional media mean the industry should be supporting those citizens and independent journalists who want to take on the role of holding those in power to account – and if press credentials could help them do that job and the content they produce is worthy, they should be equally entitled.
And while there is no one covering the meetings and hearings, and poring over public records, there are people forming to take on these stories. However, these non-profit reporters, citizen journalists and bloggers are often being shown the cold shoulder and being denied credentials because they don’t have a business card from a newspaper or television station.
Denying press credentials to independent, non-profit and citizen journalists who are working to get stories is doing a disservice to every news consumer. Many of these journalists are filling the void that is left when a local newspaper cuts back or closes. They do the same job that the legacy media reporters are sometimes are doing it without either a paycheck or title.