Technical Requirements

Laptop FAQs

Great! Just make sure your laptop meets the minimum specifications.

Essential Tools

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We are an Apple-only facility. You’ll need a laptop running macOS 10.13 (aka “High Sierra”). You can find the laptop specifications earlier on this page.

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USB-C to USB Adapter

On the latest MacBooks, this will be needed to plug a USB device into a USB-C port. We recommend an adapter/hub capable of supporting laptop charging. The hub pictured here is designed to work with the MacBook Pro only.

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You’ll need to buy and install software for your laptop. Avid Pro Tool and Audio Hijack are NOT required for students in the Social Journalism program or in the Entrepreneurial Journalism program. Scroll down for details on purchasing required and recommended software.

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In collaborating with your colleagues, you’ll exchange audio, video and photos. We recommend a high performance (7200 RPM) external drive with a minimum storage capacity of 1TB for sharing and storing your projects. Internet storage services (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive) are great, but they alone will not meet your needs.

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You must have phone that shoots high quality photos and HD video, and your phone should include a data plan so that you can report from the field.

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To use our recording and field equipment, you’ll need a few SDHC (class 10) memory cards. These cards are easy to misplace and to break, so… keep them somewhere safe and handy.

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Theft, fire, toilet drops? Your work and your time are valuable, so we encourage you to back up your devices and files. We recommend using an external drive with a minimum storage capacity of 3TB along with Apple’s Time Machine to serve this need.

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You’ll rely on your gear, and wear and tear is to be expected. You should have cases, covers, sleeves, and bags for storing and carrying your equipment.

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As a journalism student, you’ll need a personal website with your own domain name.

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Most warranties don’t cover accidental damage or theft. You may be able to add personal property protection to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.

Required Software

You need to install the following software prior to orientation


This suite from Adobe includes a collection of content creation tools, including: Premiere, Photoshop, Illustrator.  Licensing is by subscription. Student pricing is $20 monthly for the first year, and then jumps to $30 monthly.  You will receive software updates from Adobe throughout the length of your subscription.  You must verify that you are an eligible student here, and must use your Newmark J-School email address when purchasing your subscription.

Creative Cloud is required for students in the M.A. in Journalism and M.A. in Social Journalism programs.

Buy the Creative Cloud Suite


Avid Pro Tools is a software kit for recording and mixing audio.  You can buy a license or purchase a subscription.  You’ll probably want to subscribe.  An educational subscription costs $8 or $10 monthly (annual subscription vs. monthly subscription). As a subscriber, you will receive software updates from Avid. You must verify that you are an eligible student here, and must use your Newmark J-School email address when purchasing your subscription.

Pro Tools 2018 is required for students in the M.A. in Journalism program and is optional for all other Newmark J-School students.

Buy Pro Tools 2018 (or cart it, then cart the dongle, then buy!)


iLok is a little device (called a dongle… really!) that plugs into a USB port on your laptop. It doesn’t do anything obvious, but without it, Pro Tools will NOT work. The iLok is needed to ensure that you’ve got a valid subscription or license.  You can purchase your iLok from Avid too, and it costs $50 outright.

Buy iLok


Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack is an application for capturing and recording audio.  You buy a license for $49 (or only $42 with academic discount), and then you’re good and done. Get your discount code first.

Audio Hijack is required for students in the MA program and is optional for all other Newmark J-School students.

Buy Audio Hijack


Sophos Home is business-grade cybersecurity that is now available for home users. You’ll need Sophos Home for real-time protection against known viruses, malware, Trojans, worms, bots, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), ransomware, and more. You’ll need to create a free Sophos account in order to download and manage the software.

Buy Sophos Home Free

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Insuring Equipment

In your pursuits here, you will use video and audio gear from our equipment room – including taking it out into the field (aka ‘the big bad world’). To borrow equipment, you are required to have personal property insurance. We’ve arranged for a simple policy for you through Haylor.  It costs $200 and the coverage lasts for 18 months.  This insurance also covers your laptop and many other personal items… like your bicycle, and your very precious stones.

You will need to provide us with a certificate of insurance before you can borrow gear. 

NOTE: If you are in a one semester program (such as the Entrepreneurial Journalism Program), or a visitor with borrowing privileges, please contact the equipment room manager for insurance options.

Have tech questions?

Our Help Desk is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Contact us at if you’ve got questions prior to attending orientation.