In the city of Chicago, in order to be eligible for a press pass, you needed to be employed by a newspaper, press associations, newsreels or radio stations. This meant that only those listed above could receive a press pass to be allowed access to the scene of a major event, including mayoral press conferences. But all that is about to change and the city of Chicago has changed the requirements for getting a press pass.
According to a recent article in the Chicago reader it states that:
The city’s journalists and media advocates chalked up a First Amendment victory Wednesday, September 8, when the City Council approved a string of changes to the ordinance governing CPD press passes. The old ordinance limited the passes to “full-time” employees of “newspapers, press associations, newsreels and radio stations.” The full-time stipulation has been deleted, and the list of news media has been greatly expanded to include, among other things, “a newspaper or other periodical issued at regular intervals whether in print or electronic format.”
“We realize that not everyone [who works in the media] is full-time,” says CPD News Affairs director Roderick Drew. “The newsgathering business is not as black and white . . . as it has been in the past.”
Another important change in the revisions, which sailed through the council just as last week they sailed through the Police and Fire Committee, is a repeal of the fingerprinting requirement added in 2002. Also gone is a stipulation that the journalist be “of good moral character.” Still required by the police, though it’s not specifically mentioned in the ordinance, will be a background check by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
Freelancers and part-timers will now be eligible for police passes if they can show a letter from at least one news organization stating that they’re working for it. And “news media” is being defined more expansively to include news in an “electronic format.”
Times are changing and no longer is the news regulated to be brought to us by traditional news sources. We are going to be seeing major changes as the traditional newspapers attempt to change over to digital format and more freelancers and bloggers enter the news arena.