Some of the non-local media also choose to go without credentials. The Washington Post has only several of its journalists covering the caucus in Iowa registered at the filing center. And Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for The New York Times said that paper has its own work space, and so did not pay for any credentials. “Our reporters are across the state with the candidates, which requires a notebook, but no credential,” she added.

The credentialing charge has at least one prominent in-state critic: David Yepsen, the longtime dean of the state’s political press corps who is now director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

“It’s excessive and counterproductive because it creates ill will toward Iowa,” Yepsen said. “Once again Iowans look like they are trying to profit financially from this event. I’ve had several reporters tell me they really don’t need it and won’t be there.”

And while all the attention is on the GOP this year, the Iowa Democratic Party is hosting its own caucuses, which will feature a televised address from President Obama. Should any reporters want to cover the Democratic caucuses, they can also register for a credential. This year, there is no charge.

Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.