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What’s in your bag?

March 28, 2007

Greetings, all. I was out on an assignment recently with one of our local AP reporters and I am always amazed watching him. He’s a good reporter, and he’s also the most technologically tricked out reporters I’ve ever seen. He’s got a Treo, a little portable computer (I don’t even know what it’s called, but it’s about a third the size of a regular laptop), he carries two digital voice recorders, a regular cell phone, and, finally, a notebook and pen. I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with Capitolbeaters for a while, but I’m curious to know: What’s in your bag? That’s an old golf question, but what I mean is: What are your tools of the trade? Are you old school — pencil and notebook — or are you new school, meaning you’ve got more toys than my 4 year old. Post your responses as comments here. I’ll go first:

Aaron Gould Sheininfountain penTreovoice recordernotebook
Olympus digital voice recorder

Reporter’s notebook
Pen (I have had a Waterford fountain pen for 10 years that I typically use, although it’s currently out ink and I haven’t gotten a new bottle yet.)
Treo 650

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2007 11:45 am

    Older Dell Axim. No wireless, but I can download email and it has built-in audio recorder plus enough memory for my key spreadsheets and PDF files.

    Olympus VN-480PC.

    AP-issue Nokia. Has (low-res) camera and can record audio and video.

    Clickable ball-points.
    reporter’s notebook

  2. asheinin permalink
    March 28, 2007 12:11 pm

    From Dale Matthews:
    The unusual thing I carry in lieu of a digital voice recorder is a 3-chip Panasonic digital video camera. It’s about the size of a thermos and fits nicely into my reporters bag (full of pens,
    notepads, documents, a few tools, and a lavaliere microphone).
    The ability to record both audio and video is a real advantage.
    Yes, there are interview subjects for whom any kind of recording sets off alarm bells. I usually aim the device from some oblique angle and let it just sit there on the side. It can be held at my
    hip. I remind them that I’m recording the conversation, of course.
    I’ve had subjects say “Oh, you’re videotaping? You’re sure to get it right then.” (our local daily has a very poor reputation with quotations).
    Finally, this really came in handy in capturing the consternation (much of it non-verbal) at the elections office when the county clerk explained that a local candidate was to be excluded due to
    “unwritten rules” – to which the clerk alone was privy.
    It was so incredible, everyone wanted to see the videotape.
    Dale Matthews
    First Friday
    924E SW Pine, Grants Pass, OR 97526
    (541) 472 8885 office

  3. March 30, 2007 4:36 pm

    I usually keep a case of bottled water and a handful of snacks in my car, along with boots, socks and (when I haven’t run out of clean laundry) a change of clothes.

    I do some reporting for online and my multi-media contribution is usually sound files (at least until my bosses shell out for a video camera.)

    In the reporting kit or on my person, along with notebooks pens and pencils most days:
    * A decrepit Axim handheld that once a few checks from side projects clear will be replaced by either a blackberry or other combined phone/mobile device.
    * A Nextel phone.
    * Business Cards
    * An Olympus Digital Recorder for everyday use.
    * A lapel mic suitable for pinning to a politician or farmer walking beside me.
    * A short XLR to 1/8 cable for plugging into mult-boxes
    * A short 1/8 to 1/8 cable because it comes in handy sometimes.
    * A pocket-sized government directory (in case my Axim croaks, which is does with disturbing regularity).
    * Spare batteries.

    For sound-intensive days or extended packing:
    * A digital mini disk recorder, power plug, and spare disks.
    * A handheld mic.

    Usually somewhere I can lay my hands on it:
    * A digital camera good enough for mug shots and such.

    My desk computer is a laptop that syncs with the mother ship. It has a wireless card, which is handy if there’s a hotspot around (there is usually these days) and is equipped with audio editing software.

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