Drone journalism camps: report from the air

Whether it’s illuminating the effects of an earthquake, providing context on the scale of a landfill, or showcasing new archeological methods at a dig, drones enable audiences to experience a story from an entirely new perspective. And they create an opportunity for journalists to tell those stories in a more immersive way.

Which is why we’re excited to announce a partnership with the Poynter Institute, the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Press Photographers Association and DJI to launch four drone journalism camps across the U.S.

The camps will be hosted in partnership with participating Universities within the Google News Lab University network. They include:

  • University of Georgia (March 17–19) •sign up here
  • Syracuse University (April 21–23)
  • University of Wisconsin Madison (June 16–18)
  • University of Oregon (August 18–20)
Journalists preparing for the FAA examination at the Drone Journalism Camp in Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Samaruddin Kassim Stewart, Google News Lab trainer extraordinaire.

Each camp will span three days, be led by the Poynter staff, and focus on preparing journalists to take the FAA exam required to fly a drone legally and safety. (You can learn more about why the introduction of this exam was a significant moment for drone journalism in our interview with Matt Waite from last year.)

We’re also lucky to have DJI provide hands-on pilot experience — trust me, it’s fun — along with important sessions on the ethics and law of using drones for journalism. (A big thanks to our partners at the National Press Photographers Association!)

The Google News Lab will also be on hand to provide sessions on creative ways to integrate Google tools like Google Earth for display of photogrammetry models and UGC aerial imagery for storytelling.

One more thing: a limited number of travel scholarships are available for members of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ journalists. If you belong to one of these groups, please make sure to let us know in your application!

We’re incredibly excited for the future of drone journalism and the storytelling it can enable. If you would like to be involved, sign-up here. Each camp will accommodate 50 students and sign-ups start now.

Up, up and away!