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The Drone Journalism School Webinar

About This Course

The Poynter Institute has partnered with Google News Lab, the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska, The National Press Photographers Association and DJI to train more than 350 journalists in drone journalism school classes in 2017. Our workshops in Georgia and New York have filled to capacity and we have two more workshops in Wisconsin and Oregon.

This webinar gives you a taste of some of the teaching from the three-day drone journalism classes.

You will:

  • Hear from The Drone Journalism Lab founder Matt Waite, who teaches the fundamentals of the FAA Part 107 drone pilot test. Matt explains what to expect on the test and what he thinks the future holds for drone journalism pilots

  • Learn from NPPA's general legal counsel Mickey Osterreicher, who has tracked the evolution of drone laws for years. Mickey explains how journalists are feeling pressure from local and state governments who want to regulate airspace and how journalists should respond to growing public concerns about privacy and drone safety.

  • Listen to Google News Lab's Nicholas Whitaker, who says drone video has great value beyond covering breaking news. Whitaker explains how Google is working with partners to mine data from drones to build 3-D and virtual reality images. He says we are on the frontier of new ways to tell stories and improve journalism.

  • See what DJI, one of the powerhouses in drone manufacturing, is doing with drones around the world. From agriculture to industry to biology and journalism, drones are taking high definition photography into exciting new uses.

The host of this webinar, Poynter's Al Tompkins, is an FAA Part 107 licensed pilot and will offer ethics guidelines that he, along with Waite and Osterreicher drafted for drone journalists. The ethics guidelines are a product of input from journalists who have attended our workshops.

What Will I Learn:

  • The basics of the FAA test: What is it, what’s in it, common misconceptions.
  • The lay of the legal landscape and why it is this way. The conflict of local and federal control.
  • The evolution of drone use. Where this is all heading and how drones are becoming essential not just to journalists.
  • The next steps for drone use including 3D mapping and interactive media.
  • he ethical frictions that confront us as drone journalists including privacy, production and safe operation.

This innovative program is offered in partnership with Google News Lab, with drones provided by DJI. Our teaching partners are the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska, the National Press Photographers Association and our four host universities.

Who Should Take this Course:

Journalists working in any media, journalism students and journalism educators. We especially welcome newsroom managers who will make decisions about drone deployment and need to understand the legal implications of drone photography.

Course Instructor

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is Senior Faculty/Broadcast and Online at The Poynter Institute. He is the author of Aim for the Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which is being used by more than 130 universities' journalism departments around the world., and the Poynter NewsU course Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. He is also the author of Telling Memorable Video Stories, a video tutorial series at Poynter's NewsU. You can join the more than 10,000 people who follow him on Twitter at @atompkins.

Tompkins has more than 40 years of experience as a journalist, writer and journalism teacher who teaches in seminars at Poynter and workshops and conferences around. He has been a presenter at national conventions for IRE, RTDNA, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, Unity, NLGJA, PRNDI and NPPA. Since 1998, he has taught seminars and workshops in 48 states and four countries.

He joined Poynter in 1998 after 25 years as a journalist, including serving as a reporter, investigative reporter, director of special projects and investigations and then was appointed news director, WSMV Nashville. Under his direction, WSMV was Nashville's leading news station. His hour-long documentary, “Saving Stefani,” was featured as a special Dateline NBC and was awarded the 1999 Clarion Award.

During his two and a half decades as a journalist, Tompkins has won The National Emmy, The Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, The American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, three Gabriel Awards, two Iris Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for international reporting and the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

From 1999-2006, Tompkins and Bob Steele co-authored four editions of the Radio Television Digital News Association's Newsroom Ethics workbook and tape series, which was presented in workshops in 26 U.S. cities.

Training Partner:

Google News Lab

Google News Lab

The Google News Lab collaborates with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to everyone. Quality journalism is critical to that mission, providing accurate information to people on important issues when it matters the most.

Over the past decade, technological changes, and the shift to digital, have presented significant challenges to the underlying models that allow news organizations to produce quality journalism.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of Google News Lab

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.