As a photojournalist I can tell you, you are going to have harsh conditions and I would not go with an F100. They are excellent cameras but for the day to day use and the beating up that will happen I would not recommend that camera even though I own one.
If they do not care about AF I would find a good used F3. Those bodies can take a beaten. If AF is needed then an EOS1 Canon or a Nikon F5, both cameras are excellent. But remember when you step into the EOS or F5 bodies you need batteries and if they go out you are SOL. That is why I also take the F3 as I do not have to worry about batteries with that body. As far as lenses and depending on the type of work they will be photographing you are going to need fast lenses.
I really do not like the zooms to much as I feel that with fixed lenses I can concentrate on the composition rather than messing around with zooming in and out. I have other zoom lenses but do not use them that much anymore since I have gone more over to fixed lenses. Also a 35 lens is awesome especially if shooting with a film body.
$4K isnít much if you are looking for new equipment as the faster the glass the more expensive it becomes. I would look around for used gear. Now if they change their mind and buy digital do not buy used.
If you can afford Lecia go for it! The camera and lenses are just awesome but it is a lot of money if this is something you are only thinking about doing. The field is hard to break into and very competitive. I wish I never left the field as I am having a hell of a time trying to break back in. Again make sure this is what you want to do and figure out what you want to shoot and buy the equipment for your shooting style. I mainly cover sports and photo stories so my line of equipment will be completely different from a person that covers war for example. If I am hitting the streets to cover spot news I am going to travel very light; If I am going to an event and have someone helping me out I am going to pack a bit more. Again it really depends on your shooting style and the assignments you want to take on.
If you ahve any quesiton drop me a line anytime.
Hope that helped,