Drone Journalism Lab

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Links, thoughts and research into using drones, UAVs or remotely piloted vehicles for journalism at the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

About the Lab

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln established the Drone Journalism Lab in November 2011 as part of a broad digital journalism and innovation strategy. Journalism is evolving rapidly, and journalism education must evolve with it, teaching new tools and storytelling strategies while remaining true to the core principles and ethics of journalism. The lab was started by Professor Matt Waite as a way to explore how drones could be used for reporting.

In the lab, students and faculty will build drone platforms, use them in the field and research the ethical, legal and regulatory issues involved in using pilotless aircraft to do journalism.

Journalists are increasingly faced with two problems: a growing appetite for unique online video in an environment of decreased budgets; and restricted or obstructed access to stories ranging from disaster coverage to Occupy Wall Street protests. The technology behind autonomous and remotely piloted vehicles is rapidly moving from military applications to the point where private citizens can own and operate their own drone. At the same time, high definition and 3D video cameras are getting smaller, cheaper and lighter. Paired with global position devices, they make ideal additions to an airborne platform.

In short, drones are an ideal platform for journalism.

About the College

The CoJMC is a nationally recognized program, where 950 undergraduate and graduate students get to practice hands-on journalism and advertising, guided by talented faculty members who have professional experience at places such as the New York Times, ABC News, Bailey Lauerman, Ayres, McFarland, and Drier.  

We’re a member of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, a prestigious group of the nation’s top 12 journalism schools. And we are the Midwest bureau for ABC News on Campus.

Our award-winning depth reporting projects have taken students to many countries, including South Africa, Kosovo and Cuba. We offer several study abroad opportunities to learn about journalism and advertising, including countries like Germany, Mexico, France, and Japan. And our students get great internships and jobs in places such as Variety, the New York Times, CBS Evening News, Ogilvy Mather, the Onion, ESPN, BBDO, Grey Worldwide and media outlets abroad.

Read more about the college.