April 8, 2021 – A move to give the Mayor’s office responsibility for press passes that have long been handled by the New York Police Department is generating controversy from all sides.

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is on track to take over the issuance, suspension and revocation of press credentials to working journalists, including photographers, thanks to a new City Council bill passed in March.

Advocates of the move cite the NYPD’s handling of police protests last summer, including clashes with journalists, while critics fear it gives notoriously thin-skinned mayors too much control over how they are covered.

“We’re a little skeptical of the change,” said Colin DeVries, president of the Deadline Club, a local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. A big question, DeVries said, is “will the MOME-issued badges create access issues,” including with the NYPD, which is usually in charge of the kinds of breaking news events that require press credentials to get in.

First Amendment Advocacy

The Deadline Club and the Society of Professional Journalists are ardent protectors of the First Amendment and the right granted to journalists to exercise freedom of the press.

Learn more about the national efforts to support press freedom here. Locally, the Deadline Club has been involved in numerous journalism advocacy efforts in New York City.

If you are a working journalist in the New York City area and believe your access to cover an event has been restricted or denied—or you have witnessed such interference—click HERE to contact us. We’ll keep your identity confidential if you prefer.

The Club also sponsors First Amendment events throughout the year, including workshops about filing Freedom of Information requests both nationally and in New York State.

Learn about SPJ’s legal defense fund and how to apply for assistance.

New York City Press Corps Freedom of Information Advocacy Survey and Letter

A Consortium of New York City news organizations and outlets, including the Deadline Club, is gathering information on the city’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) with the aim of publicizing the current system’s strengths and and weaknesses, and advocating for ways to improve the system. How can you help? Please share your experiences with the FOIL system for ideas and strengthening it in this survey Use the password: foil2019! to access the survey. If you can’t access the hyperlink above, here is the link: https://citylimits.org/foil-highlights-and-horrors/#1.