NJ Press ID Card Application for New Applicants

If you would like a 2022 NJ Press ID Card,
you must purchase a 2022 SPJ membership as part of your purchase.

Most people who sought 2021 NJ Press ID Cards opted for an Associate Membership in in the national branch of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), while getting the required full membership in NJ-SPJ.  That option is still available for new applicants.

Full SPJ Membership gets you many worthwhile benefits that Associate Members do not receive.  We particularly recommend the discounted Lexis/Nexis discount, which truly elevates your work.  In addition, full SPJ members receive professional training and career support, while helping to defend journalists everywhere.

Here Are Your Options…

All options will start your membership to coincide with the calendar year.

Associate SPJ Membership. You get associate membership in National SPJ and full NJ-SPJ membership.  You are entitled to purchase a NJ-SPJ Press ID card, but you will not receive most national benefits.  Click Here.

Full SPJ Membership for One Year.  You get full national SPJ benefits and full NJ-SPJ membership. This includes eligibility to purchase your 2022 NJ Press ID CardClick Here

When you click on a Press ID product bundle above, you’ll be asked to complete a form detailing your qualifications. You will be asked to provide web links to news you’ve reported or upload a letter supporting your status. You will also be asked to provide a recent headshot in high-resolution JPEG format. All of this information will be saved when you purchased your press ID card.

Should I Apply?

It’s easier to quickly identify who should not apply:

  • Cards are intended for newsgatherers, including reporters, photographers and videographers. If you are an opinion writer or someone who curates a news aggregation site, then you should not apply.  (People who are newsgatherers may apply regardless of their current employment status.  See details in following sections.)
  • The size of your audience does not matter, but you must be seeking to inform the general public. If you represent a private industry newsletter or a family group, then you should not apply. (Generally speaking, your work should be promoted to people who are not paying members of an organization.  If you work on the newsletter for one particular church, for example, then you probably would not qualify, while if you work for a religious newspaper or magazine that is widely available, you should apply.)
  • You may apply if your publication or videos support a broad cause, such as the environment, civil rights, healthcare or housing. If your group runs candidates for office, however, then your publication would be disqualified as a political organization.  Hate speech is an automatic disqualification.  NJ-SPJ will make these determinations in its sole discretion.

Step One: Determine which category applies to you

Media category.  I am supplying three examples of recent work, for which I needed an NJ Press ID Card, primarily identifying myself to law enforcement.  (You may skip to Step Three.)

Professional Journalist.  I understand that this does not depend upon my current employment status, the medium in which I report or the number of people in my audience. I will, however, provide information showing that I understand and uphold professional standards.

Step Two: Those applying as a Professional Journalist must supply a letter supporting their status.

Your letter should address certain criteria, detailed below. You must supply documentation supporting your statements, either in the form of weblinks or uploaded documents. NJ-SPJ may ask you for further documentation or may reject your application, at its sole discretion.

We understand that not every person fits every criterion.  We are listing multiple criteria in order to include more qualified people, not to keep you out.

Pertinent Questions:

  • Do you have experience in journalism? Please tell us about your experience and provide some amount of documentation.  (Retirees are welcome to apply. Students must demonstrate professional experience or more than one year on a campus publication or radio station and should also include a letter from their advisor.)
  • Do you have some examples of your work, even if not done recently? Please supply them.
  • Do you cover—or intend to cover—local government, law enforcement, mass protests or spots news, such as fires?
  • Do you have any formal training, such as a university degree or a transcript showing study in the fields of journalism, media or communication?
  • Do you feel you have at least a basic understanding of such concepts the public’s right to know vs. the right to privacy; defamation law; prior restraint and the OPRA and FOIA laws (both in NJ and on the federal level), to name a few? If you do not have formal training or experience, then please discuss these topics in two or three paragraphs, just covering the basics.
    (If you feel you need to know more in these areas, we highly recommend the Associated Press Stylebook (also available on Amazon), Media Ethics from SPJ, and the SPJ Code of Ethics, which is available free.  You can also contact NJ-SPJ for specific recommendations.)
  • Do you have examples of professional recognition, such as awards?
  • Are you a member of journalistic organizations? How long have you been a member?  Please provide examples and documentation.
  • If your background is not in journalism, can you provide examples of expertise or recognition in the field you cover? For example, if you report on the environment, please provide information on your specific background and training.

Once again, we realize that not every question will apply to every person. You need not provide a lengthy letter if you feel you have presented an adequate understanding of your background and training, with appropriate documentation.

Please save your letter as a PDF and be sure to include active weblinks that support your claims. You can submit the PDF by uploading it in the field indicated on the product order form, or you can email the PDF document to NJ-SPJ Secretary Steve Lubetkin or print it and mail it to NJ-SPJ, c/o New Jersey Historical Society, 52 Park Place, Suite A, Newark, NJ 07102.

To fill out the application and purchase your press card, choose the membership option that fits your needs:

For Press ID Cards with Associate Membership in National SPJ and NJ-SPJ Membership click here.

Full SPJ Membership for One Year.  Click Here

Each of these product bundles includes a Press ID Card purchase and offers you the option to purchase a laminated windshield card for up to two vehicles, and a reporter visibility kid (reflective lanyard and windshield clip).


The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by additional explanations and position papers that address changing journalistic practices. It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable.  

NJ-SPJ is part of the national Society of Professional Journalists, which regularly maintains and updates a Code of Ethics.

NJ-SPJ requires that all who apply for the NJ-SPJ Press Identification Card read the SPJ Code of Ethics.  As stated, it is not a set of hard rules and we encourage news organizations that examine and develop their own ethical codes.

The NJ Press ID card is the property of NJ-SPJ.  NJ-SPJ reserves the right to withdraw the NJ Press ID Card from anyone who commits a  gross violation of the spirit of SPJ’s ethics.  The card may also be withdrawn for violations of law, such as trespassing, or for any other reason as determined at the sole discretion of the board of NJ-SPJ.  In such instances, individuals are required to return their card to NJ-SPJ.   NJ-SPJ will refund the individual’s card payment in full and, if requested, their membership fee.  NJ-SPJ will, however, keep the processing and shipping fee.  NJ-SPJ reserves the right to make changes to its terms of membership and the NJ Press ID program at any time and without prior notice.

The information that applicants provide for name, media affiliation, description and primary email address will be included in the online Directory of NJ Journalists.  This will also include the photo that applicants provide.  NJ-SPJ will make this directory available to the public.  Applicants consent that their information will be included.

NJ-SPJ is not liable for any incidental, consequential, direct or indirect (including but not limited to damages for loss of revenue, business interruption, expenses and the like) arising from the use, misuse and/or inability to use the NJ Press ID Card or any determinations regarding the issuance or revocation of the NJ Press ID Card.

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless NJ-SPJ, its officers, employees, directors, agents and contractors from and against all claims, losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, arising from any violation of this Agreement by you or any other person using/displaying the NJ Press Id card as well as any determinations regarding the issuance or revocation of the NJ Press ID Card.