Whether you are a regular contributor to independent media organizations such as Nevada Cop Block, an activist; who knows the value of keeping a camera handy when dealing with police and other government officials, or simply a fan; who wants to demonstrate your support for what Nevada Cop Block does and spread the word to others, there is a valuable tool available to make it easier for you to do so.
Press passes for independent media issued by Nevada Cop Block are a multi-functional option designed as a convenient and attractive way to support independent journalists and media organizations holding law enforcement, the courts, and government representatives accountable for their actions. They act as both a visual indicator that you value your rights and a prominent warning to anyone that might want to infringe upon them.
Over the years, Nevada Cop Block has expanded from a very small “DIY” style project into a fully functioning independent media outlet with a prominent national online presence and connections to hundreds of associated media organizations located in cities throughout the United States and even beyond those imaginary borders. Several years ago, the establishment of “official Cop Block press passes” represented the next step in that evolution in which we served notice to the world that we wouldn’t be marginalized or overlooked, but are asserting ourselves as a legitimate member of the media. Of course a reflection of our recognition of independent media included the offer of customized press passes for individuals and media organizations outside of Cop Block affiliates.
Keep reading below for more detailed reasons why you need and/or want to get your hands on a press pass (and additional pictures) or just order one right now and keep it within reach, along with your camera. If you have any issues with the Paypal “shopping cart”, you can send the payment using the email address [email protected] Also, if for some reason you can’t (or don’t want to) use Paypal, send me an email and we can work out some other option.
The press pass prices are:
$20 for a press pass
$25 for a press pass along with a lanyard that enables it to be worn.
$5 for just a lanyard
(I also accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.)
***Unfortunately, I do have to charge a $5 extra to ship to addresses outside the U.S., because the post office charges me extra***
Why You “Need” an Official Independent Media Press Pass
The days of blogs primarily being a dumping ground for photoshopped cat pictures and tales of teenaged girls’ frustrations with their BFFs have long since passed. What has come to be known as “citizen journalism” has evolved into an important element of the media. Many of the scandals and abuses by public officials in recent years have been exposed by bloggers. Absent potential conflicts of interest created by political or sponsorship concerns, grassroots journalists can and often do report the things mainstream outlets are unable or unwilling to.
At Nevada Cop Block, members have varying reasons for being involved and levels of availability. However, those of us that understand the critical need for accountability for police take this responsibility very seriously. As a result, we want to encourage others to add their own unique skills to the mix in as easy and safe a way as possible.
Safety can be an important consideration when confronted by an armed, aggressive, and at times violent person. This is, of course, why we encourage filming the police in the first place. Whether you are simply creating an unbiased record of your own interactions with badge wearing government employees on a random encounter or while actively seeking to confront official abuses, having a press pass can provide an extra layer of security.
There are several important protections afforded by the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution in regards to documenting the actions of public officials. Citizens can’t be forced to stop recording police activities in public places, nor can cameras, photos, or film legally be confiscated. Even in the event of an arrest, such items must be returned intact and can’t be searched without a warrant.
Cops obviously don’t always follow even their own rules, but an official and professional looking press pass serves as a visual warning to them that you know your rights and intend to use them. Even if you are unlucky enough to run across a police officer that completely disregards the Constitution and his legal responsibilities, establishing yourself as a legitimate member of the press reporting on a newsworthy issue makes it that much easier to seek compensation for those transgressions against First Amendment protections later.
Another important function of a press pass is the access it can provide to important events. In the future, members of the Independent Media shouldn’t limit themselves to hacking at the branches of police brutality and governmental abuses if there is an opportunity to strike at the root of corruption. Rather than only confronting an individual officer out in the field, if the local sheriff, mayor, district attorney, etc. schedules a press conference or other public appearance, request press access and ask them directly why one of their employees beat, shot, or wrongfully arrested someone in your city and what they intend to do about it.
As a member of a network that advocates for police accountability, you may encounter some initial resistance from those in charge of media access, but the combination of a legitimate, professional looking press pass and a good First Amendment argument can go a long way toward getting you in the same room with those who are supposed to enforce the policies. And even if they aren’t willing to answer your questions, at least you can put them on notice that there is someone watching the watchmen.
Furthermore, something that can help make it easier for you to seek accountability is the perception that accompanies those efforts. One thing that many organizers and activists learn early is that mindsets matter, both in regards to those trying to make change and those they encounter in the process. When you think of yourself as a legitimate, professional member of the media you are more likely to act as such and when you behave in a professional manner people are less likely to resist your efforts to do so.
I can actually tell you from personal (albeit anecdotal) experience that there is a perceptible difference in the way you are received when displaying a professional looking press pass, both by PR people that control access to events and by security and/or police you might encounter. Even in instances where media credentials aren’t required, you are less likely to be questioned about why you are filming and anyone that does question you is more likely to take into consideration legal ramifications that might result from interfering with members of the media.
As already stated, one of the purposes of issuing press passes is to serve notice to those we come into contact with that we are acting as and expect to be treated as an independent media outlet. Additionally, that same intent extends to those wearing the press passes and to encourage them to expect and even demand such recognition.
Yet another benefit to using a press pass when filming in public is that it give any innocent bystanders that might not want to be in a video or photograph an opportunity to get out of the way. This is both a matter of courtesy and a way of avoiding unnecessary conflict with people who aren’t doing anything wrong.
Why You Want an Official Independent Media Press Pass
Even if you can’t or just aren’t interested in actively participating in media activities, there are several reasons why you may want an official press pass. Not only do they make great souvenirs and gifts, but they are a way for you to show your support for Nevada Cop Block and other organizations seeking police accountability.
Much like Nevada Cop Block’s other merchandise, these press passes are a visual symbol of your belief that everyone should be held to the same standard and the act of putting on a badge and certain outfit shouldn’t confer special privileges upon someone.
Wearing a Nevada Cop Block/Independent Media press pass also creates an easy opportunity for outreach to others in your community. Nevada Cop Block’s (or your chosen media organization’s) logo and URL are prominently featured in the design of the press pass. Anyone who views them will gain the opportunity to be exposed to a site dedicated to holding law enforcement officials accountable.
Beyond that, the uniqueness of it is sure to serve as a conversation starter and enable you to have discussions with your friends, neighbors, and even random strangers about the violence, corruption, and encroachment on personal liberties committed by government employees and the importance of holding them accountable for such abuses, when they occur.
Plus, each press pass is a unique, personalized souvenir. Featuring your own name and photo, as well as the option of choosing a press pass representing the Nevada Cop Block site or any affiliation you choose. If you personally work within independent media on an individual basis or as part of a group an appropriate custom press pass can easily be designed. Either way they add up to a great keepsake that will make you stand out in the crowd. Order one today for yourself or as a memorable gift for a fan of Nevada Cop Block and what we do to try to make the world a more just and well-informed place.
If you are ready to make that leap from activist to a member of the grassroots media ORDER YOUR PRESS PASS RIGHT NOW!
Note: Press Passes Don’t Grant Extra Rights Either
For all the various reasons mentioned in detail above, press passes can be helpful for people filming in public and/or acting as a member of the media. However, to be clear, from a legal standpoint press passes are not required to do so, nor do they bestow any sort of special privileges. The public’s right to film and take photography, as well as their right to express themselves in writing or media is actually protected by the First Amendment.
Essentially, from a legal standpoint, press passes have the same function as a company ID. They denote who media representatives work for and contain contact information for that media organization that can be used to confirm that, if necessary. As outlined above, having such information available and presented in a professional manner can make dealing with PR agents and others easing when seeking access to areas restricted to the working press at private events.
Once again as detailed above, there also tends to be a (erroneous) belief among many people, including police, governmental officials and even some members of the media, that press passes do have some sort of legal significance. As a result, the use of a professional and official looking press pass can serve to avoid unnecessary questioning and even confrontations from those who are under the impression that someone can not act as media unless they have a press pass.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.