For many, SCOTUSblog is their go-to-source for coverage of the Supreme Court of the United States (hence the acronym). Just look how SCOTUSblog’s traffic spiked when the court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act two years ago. And though SCOTUSblog provides terrific coverage, it has never actually been credentialed by the court — and it recently has lost its credentials to cover the U.S. Senate.
With the proliferation of less traditional, digital-first outlets, SCOTUSblog is far from the only outlet that has seen its journalists denied press credentials. More than one in five journalists surveyed reported being denied credentials by at least one agency since January 2008, according to a report on a new report being released today.
The survey is a result of a collaboration between a number of organizations in an effort to understand how private and public institutions approach credentialing issues. The participating organizations were the Digital Media Law Projecthere at Harvard, the Investigative News Network, the National Press Photographers Association, Free Press, Harvard’s Journalist’s Resource, and us here at Nieman Lab. (You may remember our request for your help with the survey back in September.)
There were 1,339 total respondents, and their answers produced a number of interesting findings. Freelance journalists were more than twice as likely to be denied a credential than a journalist who is a full-time employee of a news organization. Photographers were nearly twice as likely to be denied credentials. Respondents who identified as activists were also more than twice as likely to be rejected when applying for credentials.