This help section guide was written by one of our star verified contributors, James Bore.
This guide will give you tips for covering events and explain how to get press passes and free event passes using your status as a HackerNoon contributor.
Tips for Covering Events
You’re looking to cover an event – a conference, exhibition, festival, or anything else.
There’s a few things you should think about to help you prepare.
- Plan any accommodation you need
- Make sure you have everything you need for the day (or days)
- Check the schedule and work out how you’ll be spending your time to catch everything you need.
You’ve probably heard of press passes. These can mean anything from official union cards and press credentials recognised by authorities, to passes for individual events.
The more official cards are a whole separate topic and you’re best looking into how to get one wherever you are. This guide is about individual events.
How to Get Press Passes/Free Event Passes A lot of events will have a way to apply for a press pass directly on their registration site. You may need to search to find it, as they aren’t always obvious. If you’re going to an event with the intention of reporting on anything there, then it’s worth applying.
The HackerNoon brand name can get you free press passes at pretty much any tech event around the world. We do allow contributors to claim these free passes and represent HackerNoon, if their account is in good standing and they’ve met / spoken to an editor and got approval to represent the publication.
How to Request Approval to Attend Event on Behalf of HackerNoon
- Go here: https://hackernoon.com/contact
- Select “other queries”
- Under “What is Your Question?” please drop you HackerNoon profile URL and links to the event you want to cover. Explain what kind of articles you’ll write for HackerNoon covering the event, interviews you plan to do, etc.
- An editor will reach out via email after reading your request and checking to see your writer profile is in good standing.
After you receive approval, the next step is to apply for the press pass/event pass. This can take awhile so please do this at least 1 month before the event.
Apply for Press Pass Using HackerNoon Brand Name
Most of the time this is as simple as filling in the registration form. If they ask for the media company, put HackerNoon.
For any references to bylines or previous work, a link to your HackerNoon profile page (see this example) will generally be fine although if you keep a larger portfolio on a site like MuckRack or Authory that can be useful.
Some events will ask for a letter from your editor stating that you’re covering the event, and to get one of these simply contact the HN editor that approved your request via email.
One very important thing is to check the event’s media and recording policy.
While audio recordings to transcribe into interviews are usually fine, video, audio for broadcast, and photography may have restrictions. These may be as simple as a consent form, or more restrictive. If you’re there with a media pass it is vitally important to follow whatever rules the organiser puts in place – even if you see other attendees ignoring them.
Advantages of Press Passes
A press pass will usually give you free entry to an event, and may have other benefits such as early entry. Access to a press or interview area to work and record in is common, along with free drinks and sometimes snacks. Access to headline events, any awards ceremonies, and opportunities to set up interviews with exhibitors and speakers beforehand are also common benefits.
You’re also likely to get a press pack depending on the event. Finally, if it’s an industry event then you’re protected to at least some degree from salespeople scanning your badge as being press marks you out as someone worth talking to but not interested in buying their product.
What to Bring to the Event
If you haven’t covered an event before then there’s a few things to consider bringing along.
Wear comfortable shoes, I cannot overstate this enough. You’re likely to be on your feet for most of the day, which may be more than eight hours. Wear something comfortable and take chances to sit when you can.
Depending on what you’re looking to cover, you’ll want an appropriate bag. Something comfortable to carry for a whole day is essential, and you’ll want to keep it to the smallest size you can manage.
A voice recorder (or a voice recorder app on your phone) can be useful to note down ideas, and to record interviews. I’ll usually record conversations which I think will be useful, and use transcription software to convert them into written notes after the event.
If you’re planning to do photography at the event as well, then while a smartphone is usually fine if you have a camera that looks more professional it is worth bringing it. People tend to be much more responsive if you have something that looks more like they expect.
A laptop or other writing device, such as a Bluetooth keyboard for your phone, is also worth taking along. It’s likely you’ll have ideas during the day and may want to use the media centre to produce some drafts.
As well as reporting on the event, you may want to tout for freelance work. Business cards are old fashioned, but printing up some budget ones to take along can pay off in a big way.
Last of all, a refillable water bottle is an absolute must for any full day events.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Stay tuned for more tips to come.