First off, whats the difference?
A journalist writes for a media outlet, a blogger writes for new age media, a blog. At the end of the day they are both doing the same thing. Of course, journalist can also work for a television broadcast such as CBC Television.
Both are doing their work for a target audience. Bloggers blog for their readers, and journalist publish their stories in the newspaper and on the internet.
Both have an audience and both are a form of media. So why do we differentiate between who needs access to the press gallery/who receives press passes and who doesn't? Because not everyone really needs that access.
With free services out there like Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad anyone can start a blog. It's simple, enter a username, password, and maybe your email address and your set to go. Now your ready for the best seats in the house and the free press passes. Hold on a second.
While this does put you on the map with social media and you have established a website, do you really need all the perks? With no barrier to entry, everyone and their dog will be creating a blog to start receiving the free passes, access to special places and what have you.
As such, limits have to be placed on who can access a press gallery & who can't but those limits have to be fair.
This is where we have different rules for different situations.
In relation to social media, maybe the limits will have to be based on what the goal of the company is. If you wish to receive the same access as other journalist, there must be standards. Journalists have to agree to a code of ethics, so shouldn't blogger when they request access to any press related outlets? Then we would need to look at the purpose as to why someone would want access. Are they there to report what is going on or are they there to make a disgrace of someone. If the goal is to make a disgrace, then no thanks, not interested.
Had a press pass before, so you should get one again? Not exactly. I have media passes to the 2005 Jazz & Blues Festival and the 2006 East Coast Music Awards. Did I need them? Not really, anything I had done could have been done without a media pass.
Other things that will have to be looked at are, are you going to be constantly reporting on the news? If the goal of the company is to write a cookbook, then chances are you don't need access.
Who ever is responsible for granting the press passes will have to do their homework on the individuals requesting one. Walking up to a desk and saying I own a website is not a good enough reason to have a press pass. Obviously, an application will need to be completed with questions to the above answers and more.
In closing (until I open again later with some more thoughts on this), I don't think everyone who has a blog or has a Twitter account should be able to get a press pass. Not only because there is no room, but there is little to no need to have special access when you won't really need it. I think it is okay for some bloggers to receive them but only those who are working for a credible media company and not a fly by night company.
Don't forget to subscribe to John's blog via email. This will notify you of all blog posts on web design, web development, social media and the odd post about PEI. Just enter your email address in the box to the left.