Originally Posted by nathancarter
For most events, press badges are given to legitimate members of the press. In exchange for free admission - and maybe even access to areas that are unavailable to "normal" event guests - the event organizers expect to see photos and documentary coverage of the event in a legitimate publication. A personal blog generally isn't enough to warrant a press badge, and it's generally frowned upon to use your camera to pretend that you're a member of the "real" media.
The usual answer to "How can I get a press badge?" is "Your editor will secure one for you."
For smaller conventions and events, you can probably contact the event organizers directly, with the expectation that you will supply them a certain number of finished images in exchange for your press badge. This wouldn't fly with something big like Dragon*Con or SDCC, where they have plenty of coverage by well-known media outlets, but it might work with small local cons and expos, if you have a portfolio of event coverage to back it up.
I wouldn't be opposed to paying for a special photographer badge that included an ad for my business in the program and/or website.
cliffs: don't expect to get in free just because you're carrying a DSLR
Personal blogs are frowned upon? Maybe at a point in time years ago when the Internet had no equalizing factor to it. My main website has a decent ranking in Google, which is one of the primary sources of general Internet traffic for terms like "ACEN 2012 photos" (the site currently shows up on page 2). Obviously, not anything like Kotaku, but good enough and more specialized with what I decide to cover.
This talk of certain media organizations being more worthy than others or individuals is questionable. Some might have more reach, but it is generic pointless reach and they take on coverage just to increase their bottom line. When a convention allows individuals or smaller organizations that actually care about the event, I think that is a really positive thing. Our photos or videos are just as valid to an individual searching out coverage of the event. Some of the content I've seen done by larger organizations or general newspapers has been low quality and very limited.
When you apply, they ask for site statistics and existing work, so there isn't any question that this media credential would be taken away from someone supposedly more deserving. The convention decides. If Dragon*Con doesn't find personal sites useful to them, then I guess that's their prerogative.