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Dumb credentials question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rosie, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Ok, I'm going to need some advice, guidance, suggestions.

    I'm now a freelancer, I guess. I'm not officially 'at' a paper now, but I do still have a local paper running my column, with an outside chance of another paper or two picking up my column.

    Here's my question. How many hoops does a person have to jump through to get credentials when you aren't officially affiliated with a paper? There's an NCAA tourney coming up that I want to attend and write about, and I know last time I obtained NCAA credentials, it was 'please submit your request on company letterhead along with your title.' Which was fine then, I was the sports editor at the paper I was at.

    Now? I don't have company letterhead, let alone a title.

    This is new territory for me, so any constructive ideas are welcome.
  2. lono

    lono Active Member


    Write your letter, e-mail it to your sports editor and ask him/her to print it out on company letterhead for you,

    Barring that, send the letter yourself and include the editor's name/e-mail/phone number for verification that you indeed do string for the paper and will be covering the tourney.
  3. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    Your situation is slightly different in that you're doing a column. But my experience is that it's best to have someone from the paper set up the credentials. They can verify that you are, in fact, covering the event for that paper.

    I've wondered about this myself. As a freelance writer, there are times when you might wish to sell a story after the fact. For example, what if I want to do a story on what it's like to be an MLB owner on draft day. If I haven't gone through the pitching process, there's really no editor who can vouch for me. But there are people who can verify that you are, in fact, a bonafide reporter. You could offer a few references and, perhaps, a few clips.

    I imagine all the organization wants is proof that you're not just some asshole off the street trying to get a free pass, nor some idiot for whom it's unlikely that anyone will run your piece.
  4. This is an excellent question. This fall, I took my first crack at "writing" sports journalism for publication on NowPublic.com (where I am a "Guest Editor"). Luckily, I knew the Sports Information staff over at UGA and was able to get a credential for the Oklahoma State - Georgia game. From that, I wrote 3-4 pieces, including a piece resulting from a Press Box interview with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

    However, it was only because they had space in the Press Box. I was unable to get one the next week for the South Carolina game because the Box was jammed beyond capacity.
  5. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    NCAA hoops is by far the diciest proposition for a freelancer, at least come tourney time....You really need to have an SE make an "official" request...and even if you are writing for a web site, don't make your request on that basis (MLB the same)...
  6. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be sneaky. Go through the local paper that runs your column. Ask for the letterhead if you have to. Be perfectly up front about why you need it.

    If you end up freelancing a bunch of columns to a bunch of different papers, I think it's fine...
  7. Speedway

    Speedway Member

    Well said. Plus it never hurts to start showing up to some less marquee events (women's hoops, practices, etc) to begin a rapport with your local school's SID office. The SID then can vouch for you come tourney time.
  8. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    I never said it was NCAA basketball. And it's not.

    I know if I ask the paper, they'd be more than willing to help me out. I was wondering if there was a way -- non-sneaky of course -- to obtain credentials without doing so, or if anyone has had success in doing so.
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