What does CBC News reporter Paul Hunter keep in his ready bag for when his phone rings and he must fly off to the next disaster zone? What does he suggest reporters need to carry with them to cover a war or an earthquake, or even the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt?
"It's like camping, on steroids," said Hunter, during a briefing for delegates at the Canadian Association of Journalists national conference in Ottawa, in early May. "There is nothing there, where you are going."
(A live blog of the talk is here
thanks to the work of Paula Last, freelance journalist and student at the Centennial College Fast Track journalism program.)
Hunter, the Washington-based correspondent for CBC News
, brought his kit with him for his Saturday morning May 4, 2013 workshop.
The most important thing about the travel bag, he said, is to make sure it is durable, and already well worn-in. He found that out the hard way in Afghanistan, when his new duffel was strapped to the outside of an armoured vehicle and took a brutal pounding while Hunter and his camera man were traveling with the Canadian forces stationed near Kandahar.
Other important items included:
your own meds (Hunter always has cipro ready)
water bottle with filter
Colourful ID with 'NEWS' printed on it.
Phone charger for your phone
pocket-sized digital camera
iPhone with Shure mic and cable (for recording voice overs)
When Hunter covers stories like the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, the 25 year veteran news reporter said he always keeps his own personal health and safety in mind, and weighs the risks of where he will chose to stand and where he will go for an interview. But he wasn't prepared for what happened to him in the middle of New England in December 2012, when he was in Newton, Connecticut, after the massacre of Sandy Hook schoolchildren. Hunter revealed that while on the job, both he and his cameraman spent "the worst day" vomiting, because both picked up a nasty stomach bug from drinking contaminated local tap water at their hotel.
A BlackBerry user, Hunter raved about the iPhone for recording video himself, which he sends back to Toronto for live hits with the News Channel anchors. And for the quality of the sound they provide for his voice over scripts. He records them in his hotel room (often with a towel over his head to cut the echo-ey sound) and then emails the file to his editors. Some of his favourite apps? Hindenberg for voicing, and the GoPro for recording video.