Journalism programs at the University of Nebraska and the University of Missouri are experimenting with UAVs for reporting and story research. The ways we report and consume news have changed radically in recent years. Now not only are journalism schools adapting to answer the challenges of producing content on all shapes and sizes of screens and devices while maintaining integrity–with fewer resources than ever–two college journalism programs are also teaching students how to operate drone aircraft for story-gathering and reporting. Both classes are considered experimental. But they’re also easily replicated at any university. (Drones are getting pretty cheap, too.)
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drone Journalism Lab and the Missouri Drone Journalism Program at the University of Missouri are the first two programs of their type in the nation. At both universities, journalism students are taught the basics of flying unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), using still and video cameras to gather aerial information, the ethics of operating flying cameras, FAA regulations and safety, and how to interpret aerial footage. The goal is to turn information gathered from the air into workable stories.