NASA Agencywide Media Accreditation Policy
NASA’s formal policy that standardizes the criteria and process for media accreditation agencywide.
II. GENERAL POLICY
As called for in National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, NASA is charged to “…provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof.” As a publicly-funded U.S. government agency, NASA is committed to making access to its facilities and personnel as open as possible. Therefore, it is the policy of NASA’s Office of Communications and the communications organizations at all NASA centers and locations to provide accreditation to representatives of the media, along with necessary virtual and on-site access to agency facilities and officials within available resources.
A. Professional News Media: Applicant must be employed or performing work on behalf of such news-gathering and distribution organizations as: newspapers, magazines, trade newsletters, television and radio stations, independent production companies with approved projects, and internet news sites. To be given NASA media credentials, individuals from these organizations must be full or part-time professional media (i.e. receive external payment for researching and reporting news/commentary/analysis/informational content). Media must report for the outlet they are credentialed under. Individuals not employed by such organizations will be considered freelancers. (See Section III, C.)
B. Internet Organizations:
- Organizations only on the Internet must be able to show:
- Enterprise reporting of news/commentary/analysis/informational content – not an aggregator of other media’s content.
- Content is accurate and updated regularly.
- Content is not solely available and distributed on social media platforms, including, but not limited to, blogs and podcasts.
- Opportunities for NASA social media credentials and their criteria are available here.
- The individual/organization responsible for the content on the site can be identified and the site provides contact information for the individual/organization.
- The website exercises editorial oversight (i.e. runs corrections, updates).
- Content is intended to provide information, not solely to sell a product or service separate from the news/commentary/analysis/information.
- NASA reserves the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis and allow for flexibility to consider the nature of each unique event.
- Freelancers on assignment from a media organization will be considered “professional news media,” as defined in Section III, A.
- In cases where freelancers are not on assignment from a media organization, individuals must provide examples of work from the past three years. If examples of previous work cannot be shown, freelancers will be granted accreditation under the following conditions:
- Requests must be made in advance of the event based on the specific NASA location’s deadlines for both U.S. and international media. See Section XV and the specific NASA location for details.
- Access will be granted on a case-by-case basis for a period of no more than six months. After that time, the freelancer must demonstrate proof of having materials published or produced or show that materials are being considered for use.
- Freelancers will be permitted to attend only announced media briefings, events, or activities and may be excluded from interviews or tours that require extended special access or significant NASA personnel support when other media on assignment will not be attending.
- NASA reserves the right to limit the number of freelancers attending any event who cannot show examples of previous work.
- The news chief at each NASA facility is authorized to set and enforce limits on the number of unpublished freelance journalists based on available accommodations.
- NASA reserves the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis and allow for flexibility to consider the nature of each unique event.
D. College and High School Journalists
Students who make requests to attend a NASA-hosted event will be permitted to do so under certain conditions:
- The school must make the request for the student and identify him or her as being enrolled in the school.
- Students under the age of 18 must be under the supervision of a teacher/sponsor from that school at all times while at the NASA event or facility.
- Students attending the event must be doing so for the purpose of reporting on the event for a school-sponsored medium (i.e., yearbook, website, or student newspaper).
- Each school is limited to no more than two students, plus two teachers/sponsors per event, unless the NASA public affairs office hosting the event grants an exception.
- No more than 10 colleges or high schools may be represented at any one event unless the NASA Office of Communications hosting the event grants an exception.
- Permission for a college or high school to attend a NASA event will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. In cases of limited space, college students will be granted preference over high school students.
IV. NON-QUALIFYING MEDIA
Media who will not be granted media accreditation include:
A. Circulars with content limited to advertising
B. Local community service group, hobby, or social group, and individuals exclusively using social media.
- Individuals exclusively using social media are encouraged to apply for available opportunities for NASA social media credentials. Further information can be found here.
C. NASA reserves the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis and allow for flexibility to consider the nature of each unique event.
D. International media or dual nationals from countries on Column II on the NASA Designated Country List (designated by the U.S. Department of State as “State Sponsors of Terrorism”). Accreditation to International media and dual nationals from countries on Columns I, III and IV of the NASA Designated Country List will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with NASA’s Foreign National Access Management Operations Manual, NAII 1600.4. Further information can be found here.
A. Past NASA accreditation does not guarantee future credentials and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
B. NASA reserves the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis and allow for flexibility to consider the nature of each unique event.
A. Requests for accreditation must be submitted per the instructions provided by the hosting NASA facility.
B. In general (see Section XV and the specific NASA location for exact requirements), personal information required for media accreditation must come on the organization’s official correspondence and could include:
- Full name, as it appears on driver’s license, passport or other official identification document
- Social security or passport number or driver license number
- Date of birth
- For international media, scanned color copies of their visas and/or passports
C. All accreditation decisions will be made by the facility news chief or his/her designee.
D. Applicants will be subject to agency security screening measures prior to receiving accreditation.
E. If circumstances warrant, a NASA credentialing decision at an agency facility can be appealed to the Chief, News and Media Engagement in NASA’s Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington, and if required, further appealed to the Director of News and Multimedia in NASA’s Office of Communications and then to the Associate Administrator of NASA’s Office of Communications or his/her designee.
VII. PRIVILEGES OF ACCREDITATION
NASA is under no obligation to grant credentials to anyone not deemed to fall within these stated guidelines and reserves the right to refuse or revoke accreditation in accordance with the rest of this policy. NASA reserves the right to limit overall access numbers and per organization for various situations. Once accredited, a media representative will be afforded all privileges offered to all accredited representatives, including entry to NASA briefings, opportunities to interview NASA officials, access to NASA facilities open to news media, and access to published documents, images, and videos.
VIII. MEDIA PROFESSIONALISM
A. Unprofessional activities will not be tolerated and can result in media credentials being revoked. Unprofessional activities include, but are not limited to:
- Seeking autographs
- Collecting government-provided materials (photographs and other written products) for purposes other than publication or background research
- Working as an employee of or a consultant to NASA or companies doing business with NASA
- Conduct deemed disruptive or disrespectful to others
- Conduct deemed unlawful or unsafe
B. All media representatives granted accreditation must agree to these ground rules in writing by signing their accreditation application and/or media conduct form.
C. All accredited media also must agree to abide by safety and security rules established by the NASA location they are visiting. Failure to do so may result in suspension or revocation of their credentials.
IX. MEDIA CREDENTIAL TYPES
- Daily or Short-Term Non-Mission Related: For media who do not cover NASA regularly
- Daily or Short-Term Mission Related: For media who do not cover NASA regularly, but need access for news conferences, interviews, launches, or other agency activities
- Daily or Short-Term Foreign National Media: For any international media, regardless of frequency of access
B. Long-Term (based on specific location credential types)
- Long-Term Non-Mission Related: For media who cover NASA at a particular agency location on a regular basis (minimum one on-site visit per month)
- Long-Term Mission Related: For media who regularly cover launches or agency activities
Please see Section XV and specific NASA locations for details. Not all NASA assets below may be available to media, but in general, NASA access for accredited can include:
A. Work space
NASA locations try to provide work space for all accredited media during high-profile agency activities. However, working space and other resources are limited. During high-visibility events, NASA centers may not be able to accommodate all requests for work space and will allocate those resources at their discretion, generally first come, first served. However, NASA has the right to reserve a portion of working space for media outlets as deemed appropriate.
B. Utilities and Connectivity
NASA may provide access to utility services such as electricity, but the decision on whether to provide such services is delegated to individual centers. NASA centers also may require media to work directly with commercial utility service providers to fulfill their requirements but will provide reasonable coordination with those providers in designated media areas. NASA also may provide access to internet connectivity, but the decision on whether to do so is delegated individual centers. Such internet access via physical cables or wireless systems will be limited to unsecured “guest networks” requiring the issuance of user IDs and passwords, and will be provided only for limited time periods.
For safety, security, or programmatic reasons, NASA locations may limit media access to specific sites. NASA’s Office of Communications at the specific agency locations will work with media representatives to gain appropriate access to those facilities when news events warrant.
In general, NASA strives to provide ready access to people and facilities, with agency escort, on a non-interference basis. Safety and the successful completion of its missions are NASA’s first priorities. At the same time, fair and open access to NASA personnel and activities is a high priority. Where conflicts arise between these goals, NASA’s Office of Communications will strive to reach accommodation as quickly and fairly as possible.
In high-interest events or contingencies, NASA may choose, at its discretion, to require a media pool for media access. However, in cases of limited space, such as mission control rooms, NASA will strive to provide its own video feed and still photography of the event for media/public use.
D. Access to NASA personnel
NASA’s Office of Communications will make every reasonable effort to honor media requests for interviews with NASA officials. If interest is deemed great enough, a news conference may be held. Individual interviews will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Note that NASA employees may not appear in promotional material, nor may commercials or promotional content be recorded or transmitted on NASA property.
All accredited media are free to pose questions at the designated times under the guidelines established by the NASA moderator.
During certain news conferences, limits on questions may be imposed because of certain time limitations. If the NASA moderator imposes limits, the media may be asked to confine their questions to one or two per person. During time-critical events, NASA may ask the media to pool their questions.
F. Accrediting NASA Offices
In general, NASA’s Office of Communications at agency locations are authorized to grant media accreditation for working journalists. Other NASA organizations or their designees may badge media individuals for general tours or non-working visits. All other visits from media must be processed through the center/facility Office of Communications.
XI. VIOLATION OF AGREEMENT
While visiting NASA locations, accredited media representatives must respect and abide by NASA policies, including the terms of accreditation referenced in the sections above. Failure to do so may result in temporary suspension or permanent revocation of NASA media accreditation. Revocation or suspension of accreditation will apply to the individual only, and not their affiliate organization.
XII. EMERGENCY OR CONTINGENCY SITUATIONS
NASA’s Office of Communications recognizes emergency situations often are inherently news worthy and will try to work with media representatives to help them cover these stories when they happen. However, the safety of NASA personnel, media representatives and civilians are the highest priority, and media representatives must follow instructions from Office of Communications personnel and NASA security officials. Failure to do so may result in temporary suspension or permanent revocation of NASA media credentials.
In the event of a contingency where a large number of media seek accreditation within a short period of time, or during very high profile missions or events that will see large media attendance, NASA reserves the right to limit access per organization.
XIII. PRIOR NOTIFICATION
Media who request access to NASA locations for individual story events that do not qualify as “breaking news,” as determined by the news chief, must make their request in writing. In general, the request must be made at least three business days in advance of the expected date of visit.
This applies to:
- Requests for in-person interviews of NASA officials
- Requests for tours and filming/video of NASA facilities
Requests that involved simple access to a NASA location may have this rule waived if NASA Office of Communications staff members are available to accommodate last-minute requests, as determined by the news chief.
XIV. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
While it remains NASA’s intent to disseminate news and information to as wide an audiences as possible, resources and NASA personnel required to do this are limited. In particular, regarding requests that may involve extensive use of NASA personnel and resources, NASA reserves the right to work with media to modify their requests for accreditation, or in some cases deny requests, if NASA is unable to fulfill the request due to insufficient resources or personnel.
Distribution of materials: NASA Office of Communications materials will be distributed in formats that make the best use of public funds. For example, during an event of wide media interest, printed materials and photographs may be distributed in electronic formats only, as the cost of producing paper copies and color photographic prints would be prohibitive.
XV. ADDITIONAL RULES FOR INDIVIDUAL NASA CENTERS/LOCATIONS
A. Each NASA center or location may publish rules for accredited media that pertain specifically to their facility, but do not supersede the overall agency rules. These center-specific rules will include information on media access to their facilities, security, and safety requirements.
B. Depending on the NASA location, additional credentialing requirements may apply, such as from the U.S. military or other non-NASA organization, for media to gain access to the NASA activity.
C. In general, the following rules apply to all NASA locations:
- Friends and relatives of accredited media will not be accommodated.
- NASA makes no travel arrangements for visiting media.
- Requests for work space, phone services, or other logistical needs should be worked well in advance of planned events through the NASA location involved.
- No alcoholic beverages or firearms are allowed on government property.