Field Test – Journalism with Drones
By Olivia Johnson
May 7, 2016
For my field test, I wanted to see how effectively journalists could use drones to cover news, more specifically covering large vicinities and or large regions. I explored this by using a drone to fly over west campus, specifically the dome. Using drones to get an aerial view would be most beneficial to local and national news outlets and give the audience a better understanding of what is happening. If media outlets had easier access to drones to conduct such visual reporting the quality of news coverage would increase tremendously.
To get the footage I used a camera that took video and pictures that was attached to an eleven-pound drone and flew it from a parking lot near west campus. Setting up the drone took about ten minutes and two people were needed to control it. One person was needed to control the direction of the drone and the other person was needed to control the images that were being taken. The drone took flight vertically for about eight minutes with a loud propeller sound.
The drone flew near the dome, dorms and some academic buildings it also flew near the highway and captured great images of all those locations and the grave yard. The drone reached 439 feet in the air at one point and was able to reach the heights necessary to have a great vantage point over the surrounding area and the dome. As of right now with a little photo editing the images could be used for an array of publications and coverage regarding west campus. Henceforth the project was a complete success.
Currently, some media outlets pay professional drone users to flyer over certain places to capture the images or have multi-media specialist flyer in planes to get the images they need. This can be a safety hazard and not cost efficient for an industry that doesn’t have a lot of money. Although, profitable for the professional it at times may be an enormous inconvenience for the industry. If, media outlets had easier access to drones and could fly drones at their disposal they would be able to get in-depth coverage of fires and airports (during inclement weather when planes are not flying), protest (at a high view) and large stadiums such as the dome. Especially since a videographer or photographer on the ground cannot take a full picture of the dome from any vantage point. These pictures must be taken from the air and a drone is the safest way to do so.
Thus, the pictures and video I was able to capture from flying a drone were remarkable and tremendously beneficial. If I were actually covering an event in the dome or reconstruction on the dome or anything dome related the pictures would enhance any on air, recorded, in print, digital or other multimedia piece I was doing. This would give more credibility to the outlet I work for, myself and help the people visual the situation at hand.
It is the hope that in the future drones can be widely used in said way to advance journalism coverage. In order for this to happen the regulation of drones needs to be easier for the media to have access to. Also, the cost of drones (although cheaper than getting a plane) needs to come down. In addition to this, training for people using the drones needs to increase. However, if all these things are done then consumers of news will have a new way to view the world and the messages that journalists are conveying.
A special thank you to Kyle for taking the drone out with his team and flyer it with me.