You are here: Journalism and Digital Storytelling Required Equipment

Journalism & Digital Storytelling Equipment Requirements

The following purchasing list represents the minimum requirements and recommendations for students entering SOC's JDS program. Our intention is to give you a general idea of associated costs throughout the program. Technology changes may require adjustments later in your academic career.

Students may wish to purchase faster or larger computers or peripherals depending on their individual interests, skills and budgets.

We recommend that you consider purchasing the required hardware and software apps from Apple, where you will find pricing and offers for AU students. Don't be alarmed if they are not the exact prices you see because they change, and educational discounts change. These are estimates.

If you find that you have questions about any of these specific requirements, please call the SOC Techline at 202-885-3570 or email at soctechline@american.edu. Identify yourself as an incoming Journalism & Digital Storytelling student and that you are calling about Tech requirements for JDS. The Techline team plans to respond to inquiries from incoming JDS students within two business hours. If you are new to this type of technology, don't worry! Our Techline staff is very nice and folks are happy to answer questions. But you are responsible for knowing basic literacy. They are not teaching anyone how to operate their own laptops, nor are your instructors.

Have questions?

If you have any questions, contact SOC Techline at soctechline@american.edu or call the Tech line at 202-885-3570.

Required

SOC recommends any current model of the 13" or 15" MacBook Pro, or one that meets the current specifications for those models.

The educational discount prices from Apple start at $1,199 (July 2015) for the 13- inch to $2,299 for the 15-inch. The decision will be yours, likely based on your preference for portability, comfort, speed and cost.

If you are not purchasing a new computer, the bare minimum computer specs for your existing computer is a MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM. If you are not sure about your current laptop's capabilities, contact the SOC Techline at (202) 885-3570 or soctechline@american.edu.

Any MacBook Pro purchased in the last year will have the right processor and video card. MacBook Airs and MacBooks do not meet the minimum required specs.

  • Open Office (free)
  • GoogleDocs (free)
  • FTP Client FileZilla (free)
  • Text Editor: TextWrangler (free)

Your instructor will specify which video editing and graphics software packages your class will use, so it's best to wait to make your purchases. Here are some examples of programs your instructor may recommend you to buy Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop, Premiere, and other programs, now monthly subscriptions for the current educational monthly pricing.

External Portable Hard Drive--fast enough to capture video--at least 1 or 2 TB.

Earphones: High-quality "earbuds" or over-the-ear style headphones.

JDS students must register their own domain names and host their own Web sites as part of this program. We strongly encourage you to add to your site during/after each class, so you can build your portfolio as you proceed. We recommend that students sign up for web hosting with bluehost.com. Currently (July 2015) pricing is listed for $3.95 a month for web hosting, which includes a domain name registration in the price. Student discounts also may be available.