Please Note: Students are charged a $300 Technology Usage Fee each semester registered as a Journalism major. These funds help provide 24 hour/ 7 day-per-week access to our News Bubble in Knight Hall as well as free usage of equipment from our Equipment Desk (see below).  The fee also takes care of maintenance and software in the computer labs used by Merrill College.

The Equipment Desk is Located in 1107 Knight Hall. 

Phone Number: 301-405-2404

Hours are Monday – Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

The desk will NOT be open on weekends, so plan accordingly.
*Exceptions to normal hours will be posted on the Equipment Desk door.

Equipment Quotas

  • As our video cameras are in increasingly high demand, students have a limited number of days they can check them out. All Nikon and Broadcast cameras have quotas.  Advanced Nikon, Immediate Nikon, Mini DV and SD cameras are combined into one quota. Checking out any one of these four cameras will count towards the one quota.  Beginner Nikon cameras have their own quota.

DSC_0350Broadcast Camera Initial Quota: Five days

  • Quota added each week on Friday morning: 1.1 days
  • Quota accrued by the end of semester: about 20 days

Beginner Nikon Camera Initial Quota: Five days

  • Quota added each week on Friday morning: 1.1 days
  • Quota accrued by the end of semester: about 20 days

Gear Checked Out for Less Than Three Hours Will Not Be Charged Any Time/Quota.

  • Some broadcast classes have slightly larger quotas added each week. Check with the checkout worker to find your exact quota.

Equipment Due Dates

  • Equipment is due back at 9:30 a.m. the business day after it is checked out (Friday gear is due on Monday morning). Be sure to check your receipt to confirm you are clear on when the gear is due back so you aren’t fined for being late. You are responsible for all of the gear listed on the receipt, so confirm it is accurate before you leave the check out area.


  • You can extend your reservation at or in person at the checkout room. You cannot do it over the phone. You must have at least one day of quota to check out or extend gear. Gear can only be extended if their is not a wait list and on the day it is due.
  • It takes time to check out a camera kit from the equipment desk, so plan accordingly.


  • We have a one-day reservation system. If you need a camera on Wednesday, go to the checkout room on Tuesday and request to be put on the wait list. You should do this even if there are cameras in the checkout. By adding your name to the wait list, there should be a camera available at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. There is not a guarantee.

Late Fees

  • Late fees for a camera are charged by item. A camera kit usually consists of two batteries ($2 per day/per battery), a tripod ($5 per day), and the camera ($15 per day), for a total fine of $24 per day.

Camera Access

  • A student must be enrolled in a broadcast skills class to checkout a broadcast camera. JOUR262/603 students can access the Mini DV tape broadcast cameras and the Nikon Intermediate cameras. All other broadcast classes can check out the Mini DV tape, SD broadcast or Nikon Intermediate cameras. Any Merrill student can checkout a Beginner Nikon camera.
  • If you check out a camera when you need it, and return it immediately following your shoot, we should have a smooth semester!

Repairs, Breakage, Damage

  • Please be careful with the cameras and microphones. If you break or lose a piece, you will be charged for its repair or replacement.  If there are any malfunctions or breakage of equipment, please report this immediately. Some camera problems can be resolved by a phone call, either to the equipment desk or the instructor, but most will require inspection. Even minor issues should be noted. Failure to formally report camera malfunctions to the equipment desk will affect your grade. Per College of Journalism policy, students may be held financially responsible for damage or loss due to mishandling of equipment or negligence.

Delayed Openings or Closure Due to Inclement Weather

  • The checkout room opens and closes with the university.  On days when the university is closed or when the university opens at 9:30 a.m. or later, all equipment due on that day will automatically be extended to the next day the university is open.  This day will not count against your quota.