Journalism to host first Drone Journalism Boot Camp

· 3 min read

Journalism to host first Drone Journalism Boot Camp

Matt Waite

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications is hosting The Drone Journalism Boot Camp @ UNL powered by the Google News Lab, Aug. 12-14 to prepare journalists and journalism educators for the Federal Aviation Administration’s knowledge test.

On June 21, the FAA released new drone laws that will go into effect Aug. 29, just 60 days after they were introduced. The first step to legally flying drones is passing the FAA test, which includes questions about reading an airspace map and an aviation weather report, as well as questions on safety protocols.

Professor of Practice Matt Waite and BuzzFeed Open Lab fellow and college alumnus Ben Kreimer are leading a three-day workshop to help journalists prepare for the test through a mix of practice tests, hands-on flight practice and discussions on the journalism ethics involved in drone use.

“With Part 107, drones will become a commonplace tool in newsrooms across the U.S.,” Waite said. “We can help you be among the first to take advantage of the technology under the new rules.”

By being the first to offer such a camp, the Drone Journalism Lab maintains its status as the preeminent source for drone journalism education.

Waite started the first Drone Journalism Lab in the country in 2011 as part of a broad digital journalism and innovation strategy. Under his direction, the lab has been on the forefront of the changing regulations for drones in the United States.

In September 2015, Waite obtained a manned-aircraft pilot’s license to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules at the time. The release of new drone laws changes the requirements, but gives the Lab an advantage in the interpretation and understanding of FAA regulations.

Kreimer became interested in drone journalism during his time as a student at the college. It was through working with Waite in the Drone Journalism Lab that Kreimer became inspired to use drones to tell a story. He has since traveled the world to tell stories with drones, including covering poaching in Africa and soccer tournaments in India.

He’s currently the first fellow at BuzzFeed’s new Open Lab for Journalism, Technology and the Arts, where he’s continuing his work in drone journalism and open-source sensor hardware.

Interest in the camp has exceeded expectations; only a few seats remain.

“We anticipate there will be additional training opportunities in the future,” Waite said.

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