U.S. Journalists, You’re Invited to Drone School

The Poynter Institute, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based journalism school, is rolling out a training program specifically for using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The programs, to be held coast to coast at four universities, will be powered by the Google News Lab.

According to a blog post from the institute, four universities’ journalism/communications schools will serve as hosts for the $295 program from March to August of this year: the University of Georgia, Syracuse University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Oregon.

Additional online training will be available later this year via Poynter’s e-learning platform, News University.

The blog states the following: “The initiative kicks off with a series of intensive three-day workshops that prepare journalists to study for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 drone pilot’s certificate. The workshops also give journalists hands-on flight time with DJI’s drones and will focus on the ethics of drone journalism, community best practices and coordinated operations in a breaking news environment, as well as ideas and inspiration for the journalism and storytelling they will do.”

The UAS program will also be held in partnership with the University of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism Lab, drone manufacturer DJI and the National Press Photographers Association (NPAA).

The workshops will include NPPA’s legal counsel, Mickey H. Osterreicher, who has worked for years speaking on behalf of journalists as the federal government drafted regulations for where and when drone journalists could fly, Poynter says in a press release.

“NPPA has been at the forefront in advocating for the use of drones for newsgathering. With that opportunity comes an inherent role of operating them in a legal, safe and responsible manner,” Osterreicher says. “The legal landscape is especially complex because state and local governments increasingly are imposing their own restrictions on drone flights.”

DJI will provide hands-on flight training for students.

“We are thrilled to join with Poynter to empower journalists with state-of-the-art technology that inspires innovative storytelling,” says Jon Resnick, DJI’s policy lead.

Participation at each hands-on workshop will be limited to the first 60 people to register. More details are available here.


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