Tools every journalist needs

I bet most of you never leave the house without your cell phone. Am I right?

However, today’s aspiring journalists need more than just a cell phone when they hit the streets to gather the news. You should be armed with the equipment necessary to capture a variety of multimedia. Not every story needs it, but better safe than sorry. You don’t want to get caught off guard. So pack a bag with the following tools before you head out of the newsroom:

  • Notebook
  • Digital recorder – video/audio
  • Digital camera (and USB cable or card reader)
  • USB memory stick (aka thumb drive) 16 GB or larger
  • Cell phone
  • Extra batteries for your digital equipment
  • Umbrella
  • Flashlight
  • Headphones

For this class, we ask you to have the equipment necessary to record audio, video and digital photos. We recommend that you purchase the Kodak Zi8 digital video camera. You will use the Zi8 in Online Journalism as well as other journalism classes at SFSU. Look at this as an investment in your future. It is likely the Zi8 will be a tool you will use long after you gradate.

It would also be a good idea to invest in a tripod and a mic (check the Audio Technica PRO24 CM or NRG Reseach SA-800). However, both of these items are optional for this class.

Once you get your Zi8, spend some time getting to know it. Start by watching this video.

Don’t forget to bring all your digital equipment with you when you come to class every week. You never know when you might need to use it.

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4 thoughts on “Tools every journalist needs

  1. Staci,
    I own the FlipHD and, while it is a good tool and I commend you for having your students buy a camera instead of a textbook, I think they definitely are better off spending a bit more of their hard earned (or borrowed) cash and getting the Kodak Zi8. It is a dramatically superior camera. I just got my Flip this past Christmas and I’m kicking myself for being stuck with what is now an inferior camera.

  2. There’s always something newer and better just around the corner. Unfortunately, my students are required to have the Flip by class today. I’ve been using the Flips for multimedia training and I’m pretty happy with the results. I like that the Flip comes with software so you don’t have to use iMovie or Windows Movie Maker or Final Cut. It’s not the best software, but it will do the quick and dirty job. The bundled software that comes with the Kodak isn’t Mac compatible, and you know how I feel about that. 😉 I definitely think the mic jack on the Kodak would be nice to have, especially since we will be using the cam to record audio for photo slideshows. I will definitely check out the Kodak cam for next semester. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I thought about the Mac issue, but decided to gloss over it and live in a happy, dual-boot bubble. Picture quality isn’t an issue with the Flip and for students starting out, I’m sure it will work just fine. You know me and my penchant for future-proofing! It’s almost as bad as your Mac addiction! 😉

  4. Pingback: Improve your interviewing skills | CJ222 News Reporting & Writing

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