More than once someone has asked me how they can get a press pass that will gain them free admittance to attractions, concerts, or whatever else they want to see. In the last month alone I have had three different people who have RV blogs ask me how they can get a press pass.
One lady who wrote recently said she just started fulltiming and launched her RV blog last week. She said she wanted a press pass so she could “Stay free at campgrounds, get free meals at restaurants, and have RV manufacturers give her rigs to try out, because she’ll be writing about them.” I replied and told her that I had no idea how to get such a golden pass, but I wanted one!
This lady needs a reality check. In truth, there is no one universal “press pass” that will gain you free passage to wherever you want to go. Many publications, television, and radio stations issue press passes to their reporters as a means of identification. All this does is tell the world that yes, you do work for such and such magazine or whatever. But nobody is required to honor the pass.
When I was in the community newspaper business, some police departments issued myself and my reporters press passes that allowed us access to crime and accident scenes to cover a story, but that was only at the discretion of the senior officer at the scene. If he (or she) felt that our presence was unsafe, or would hinder their investigation or jeopardize a criminal case, they could (and sometimes did) tell us we had to step back. I always respected this and had a very good working relationship with the authorities because of that.
As far as a press pass for an RV blog, forget it. These days everybody and his grandmother has a blog about something, and unless you can show that you have many thousands of daily readers, and can convince them that exposure in your blog will benefit an attraction or a company, they aren’t going to give you a thing. Otherwise, they would be overwhelmed with requests for freebies.
We do get free admission to most of the places we write about, and we don’t even have a press pass. What we do have is a very long track record, lists of references from other places we have written about, a website and blog, and sample copies of the Gypsy Journal to demonstrate that we are indeed members of the working press, and that we can tell thousands of readers about their company or organization. Even then, we sometimes have to jump through some hoops before we can arrange admission to some places, and we get told no sometimes.
When it comes to free camping, free meals, and RVs to test drive, in our experience that seldom happens. I think over the years, two or three RV park owners who have read the Gypsy Journal and liked it have invited us to stop by for a night or two as their guests, and a couple of equipment manufacturers have given us things to test and write about. Part of that may be because when they have contacted us, I always tell them right up front that if their product is good, I’ll tell the world. However, if I feel it is crap, I’ll tell our readers that too. You’d be surprised by how fast many conversations end after that!
As for those RVs to test out, I’m still waiting to hear from any company who wants us to hit the road in one of their units, but the phone hasn’t rung yet.
Thought For The Day – Life isn’t supposed to be fair. It’s just supposed to be life.
Those dopey readers supply you with some funny stuff to write about. Anyone who thinks that a press pass will get them all of the freebies they describe will probably have quite a bit of success with that guy over in Trinidad who wants to give me $1,000,000 because he has wealth to share.
By the way, when do we get to see the Bad Nick Blog?
Testing out different RVs was one of the reasons I took this transport job I’ve got. I can tell you about the driving idiosyncrasies of various motorhomes — just can’t tell you how good each one is for camping (the manufacturers kind of frown on their new units getting to the dealer with used holding tanks!). ;>)
Is the level of intelligence deteriorating in this great country or has the internet just provide a method of exposing these dumb bunnies?
Simply amazing how many individuals want something for nothing and think it is their god given right that others should “work” to provide a free ride and services for them!
Nick, you mean all that stuff you have you actually paid for? You mean you have to pay to park in an RV spot? You mean all those restaurants around the country haven’t been feeding you and Miss Terry all these years? Wow.
If you ever DO get one of those pasees, either keep the news to yourself or remember that we are your very best friends and want to travel along with you everywhere!
I admire your ability to gently educate the horribly disillusioned who expect a free ride. However I’ll lay dollars to donuts that for every one you managed to straighten out there are a dozen or more who are clueless enough to expect that free ride.
I’ve got a friend who lives in Elkhart who worked for a drive-away company for awhile. He had a toad which he used to tow behind the rig, and then return for the next load. Pretty neat job, given where he lived.
On a somewhat related note, as a ‘perk’ from my job I’ve had several rental cars this past year due to my company vehicle breaking down. In fact today I’ve been ‘test driving’ a Jeep wrangler thanks to the latest breakdown of my van. To sum up, nice vehicle, but a bit too thirsty for me to get one for myself in today’s gas market.