The Press Chronicles: Chapter 1: Attaining Access

Conventions, Personal

Hey guys!  As some of you know, I had the privilege of attending SDCC this year as press.  It was my first year (Barb’s second or third..I’ve lost count) and while researching, I found that there is little out there to explain all those questions you and I have about what is press at a comic-convention.

So over the next few “chapters” (I’m not sure how many there will be…I could go on and on really) I’ll attempt to answer or expand on questions that have been sent to us or we’ve heard in conversations with others.

Enjoy.

 

They walk among us.  Usually undetected, but they are far from the stealth ninjas and super-heroes that surround them.  Yet way more agile (generally) than the zombies.

They are the lucky few who receive press credentials for conventions like San Diego Comic-Con.

When I was first accepted as a member of press, I had a lot of questions but not a lot of resources it seemed.  It’s like the elephant in the room that no one likes to talk about.  That’s why I reached out to all of you.  What is it about press YOU want to know?

So here we go — you asked, I’m going to attempt to answer the best I know how.  This will be a multi-part article as it can get wordy explaining all things press.

As always, if we don’t answer your question or you have follow-up questions, you can always contact one of us and we’ll attempt to answer it further!

Are there a set number of press badges available? (Lisa M.)

While we were at SDCC this year, we heard a crazy number like 3,500.  Whether that’s true or not, I do not know.  There is no number listed on the CCI website.  Surely, someone out there has an answer, but they are not broadcasting it as far as I can tell — so we’ll go with somewhere between 2 (Barb and myself) and 3,500.

HOW CAN I BE SUPER AMAZING PRESS?!?!  -or- What does it take to receive press credentials? (by far the most popular question – several people asked this)

Well, little grasshopper that all depends on the type of press you are and the convention you are looking at covering.

Press can be defined as follows (thanks dictionary.com):

printed publications collectively, especially newspapers and periodicals.

all the media and agencies that print, broadcast, or gather and transmit news, including newspapers, newsmagazines, radio and television news bureaus, and wire services.

the editorial employees, taken collectively, of these media and agencies.

There are several types of press, and levels of acceptance.  Being a member of press is a lot like high school.  There are the super popular, always accepted press members like major television and entertainment outlets (think major market entertainment news websites, magazines, programming).  There is also the middle of the road, knows everyone but still lurks kind of in the shadows print publications (like newspapers).  And then there are those of us who occupy the darker hallways of the press world: the internet fan-sites, blogs, vlogs and forums.

Usually smaller, local cons are more willing to accept as much press as possible (it’s good for business).  San Diego Comic Con on the other hand can afford to be slightly more selective.

But do not let that discourage you.  If you truly believe in your heart that you qualify as press, apply.

Generally there is an application on the website for the convention as well as a listing of what they will ask you to submit.  Most request recent examples of your work (whether it’s photos, blog entries, articles).  Some will ask for a business card and most will ask about your site traffic or publication reach.  A word to the wise, don’t inflate your numbers and or fabricate your work – they do check.

From there, it is in their hands.

For those interested in pursuing press credentials, I highly suggest checking the convention websites for more exact information.  Like I state above, each one is different and will require different things.

Comic-Con International (SDCC)

New York Comic-Con (reedPOP)

C2E2 (Chicago Comic-Con/reedPOP)

Wizard World (General Site)

Is it hard to become a member of press?

While it was my first year at SDCC, I’d received press credentials from C2E2 twice and Wizard World Chicago.  I was granted my credentials and they did not seek additional information or articles of work. However, this is not always the case as there have been stories of the convention company requesting additional information, work, and/or flat out denying credentials.

As for applying to SDCC, it wasn’t so hard as it was nerve-racking.  In the beginning, I just assumed I was going to get denied.  Again, it was those stories that float around out there about so-and-so not getting press this year, or the rumor that they were no longer accepting this form of media.  It weighs heavy on you until you hear otherwise.

I think ones own insecurities about applying are the biggest obstacle to overcome.

 

Next chapter:  perks!

 

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