If you strip away everything else - the local newspaper reporter only needs two things. A pen and a pad. That's all.
So it always surprises me the number of trainee journalists who walk into a newspaper office without either.
It shows a distinct lack of preparedness by the reporter. No, you shouldn't have to pay for your equipment but at the same time if you are doing an NCTJ course or a degree in journalism you would hope you would be carrying these things around with you at all times anyway.
It's what makes you look like a potential journalist and not the GCSE student considering journalism as a possible career.
Having said that pen - paper. Paper - pen.
It's amazing how difficult it is to bring these two elements together. But it shouldn't be.
Carry spare pens with you at all times (although I have been in court and seen three pens fail on me during a case...I should have brought a fourth).
And always have a pen and paper ready when you call or get a call from news desk - you don't want to sound unprofessional rummaging around.
It is the most basic lesson you can learn as a professional journalist - because if you are not recording it, what are you doing?