Freedom of the press means freedom to pamphleteer even. It means anyone is press if that one presses, publishes, period.
There are community standards. It is a countervailing right of people to protect their children and themselves from utterly corrupting publications. To think otherwise is to be evil.
However, the standard cannot require that anyone publishing be wealthy or wealthier, etc. The government cannot ask for any money in this regard. Doing so is completely unconstitutional.
As for press passes, per se, they are also completely unconstitutional. Once one has reached the free and community standard of reasonable decency, then that one cannot be constitutionally denied as press.
This means that the requirements/hurdles set out by the NYPD are unconstitutional. It also means that all bloggers are press, by definition. Press is not defined solely as "News Reporting" a la the Associated Press, et al.
Press includes, among other things, all "political" commentary that is published. The press in the Constitution is the publisher.
I am press.
Under the law (the Bill of Rights), we are press with all the rights and privileges vis-a-vis the government enjoyed by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal and whether those or any other publications like it or not.
A lawsuit filed against the NYPD in 2008 and settled in 2009 was supposed to make the procedure for obtaining a press pass transparent and available to websites and other non-traditional news outlets. The civil rights attorney who won the settlement, Norman Siegel, explains what his win meant: "We were successful in establishing the fact that bloggers—people using the internet—that they were 21st century journalists." Three online journalists received press passes as an immediate result.