And we’re baaack….

We’ve been really, really bad about posting here, and that’s going to change.

Here’s some quick updates and a little bit on what to expect in this space in the coming months.

New approach to the drone class

We’ve changed around how we teach the drone class at the School of Journalism. The class had been taught as a survey of drone applications inside and outside journalism. Then the FAA changed its rules and began to certify drone operators who did not have private pilot credentials. We expanded the class from 10 weeks to 15 weeks and turned the first half of the class into Drone Ground School — 8 weeks of instruction towards the FAA Section 107 test. This would, we believe, create a core of safe, responsible and knowledgeable student drone operators. And that’s what this is about: What good is it know how to shoot aerial photos or video if you can’t do safely or legally? Our students are still flying under supervision each week in flight labs — its just now they’re doing it with as much “why” as “how.”

We’re looking to take the knowledge that we’re gaining here and bring it into working newsrooms and classrooms.

New drones

We’ve expanded our drone fleet. And we’ve started a new tradition.

Students are flying DJI Phantom 4 Pro drones, which are becoming the most common entry-level drones for professional use (we’re using the Pro+ variant, if you’re really into these things).

We’ve also acquired a DJI Inspire 2 with a Zenmuse X4S camera to do more complicated video work. The drone has the capability to have a flight controller and camera controller. We think it’s a great option for students who may want to direct the photography of a project but haven’t had the time or training to learn how to pilot the drone; they can pair with a certified pilot and get some experience.

About the new tradition: We’ve started naming the drones. We wanted names that reflect Missouri’s rich aviation history, so each drone has a Missouri-themed name. Our Phantoms are The Spirit of James McDonnell (named after the co-founder of St. Louis-based McDonnell-Douglas) and The Spirit of Wendell Pruitt (named after St. Louis native and Tuskegee Airman Capt. Wendell Pruitt). We call them “The Spirit of…” as a nod to both Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” but also to acknowledge B-2 Spirit bombers based at Whiteman Air Force Base an hour down Interstate 70 near Sedalia.  Our Inspire 2 is named The Linda Godwin (after Cape Girardeau/Jackson native, MU physics professor and astronaut Linda Godwin, who is a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions and has spent 10 hours spacewalking).

“The Flying Tiger,” our tiger-striped Inspire 1, is still around, as well. We’re using it as an advanced trainer.

New staff
Missouri Drone Journalism’s co-founder, Rick Shaw, has moved on to the University of Florida. Bill Allen, the other co-founder, is enjoying retirement. Judd Slivka, an assistant professor in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Convergence area is the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s new Director of Aerial Journalism.

Looking forward…

We’ve been hard at work on some projects here while we’ve been radio-silent. Here’s some of what you’ll see posted in the coming months:

— Simple training videos for basic cinematic movements.

— Tips, hints and tricks for teaching drone usage to new, low-flight time fliers. such as that videographer you just hired who thinks “drones are cool” but has never flown one. Or students.

— A ‘policy in a box’ project so that newsrooms can spend less time developing mission guidance and more time using drones.

— A high-school drone journalism curriculum.

Interested? Have requests? Want to suggest a name for the next drone we acquire? Drop us a line here.

 

 

 

 

Drone Policy Adopted by Missouri School of Journalism

The first comprehensive guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft was passed by the Policy Committee of the University of Missouri School of Journalism on December 14, 2016.

The action sets “safe, legal and responsible” protocol for students, faculty and staff who wish to fly drones for stories with affiliated School of Journalism news organizations or for classes.  The procedures are intended to ensure that the Missouri School of Journalism takes full advantage of the new regulations enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration in June 2016.

The core standards exceeds FAA rules by requiring practical flight experience, as well as an understanding of the concepts under Title 14 CFR, Part 107.
This includes:
• Direct supervision by a pilot holding an FAA Remote Pilot Airman license.
• Completion of an approved study guide for the FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test.
• A minimum of six hour of hands-on flight training, through an intermediate skill level.

“The goal is to promote a culture of constructive attitude and pattern of behavior that demonstrates a commitment to safety,” said Richard Shaw of the Missouri Drone Journalism program.

The Missouri Drone Journalism program is an interdisciplinary partnership at the University of Missouri dedicated to helping students understand and use small, unmanned aircraft systems in service to society.

Sacred Sites to Building Boom

Drone’s dramatic storytelling power contrasts our past and present ways of life.

An ancient Native American burial mound is discovered on the bluffs above Perche Creek in Missouri during planning for a new housing development.
(Published in The Missourian, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016)
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/smith-drive-development-will-integrate-ancient-burial-mound/article_6b3f5392-bbdf-11e6-9482-2fa38877ecf1.html

New construction of multi-story luxury student apartments continue to change the skyline of Columbia, Missouri.
(Published in Vox Magazine, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016)
http://www.voxmagazine.com/news/student-apartment-complex-competition-is-changing-columbia-s-skyline/article_637f413f-26c6-5ca9-9c47-8112188b7db3.html

 

 

 

 

 

Drone Journalism Workshop Oct. 8

The Missouri Drone Journalism program offers a drone workshop on Saturday, Oct. 8 that provides the latest issues, regulations and trends on the use of unmanned aircraft for journalists. The one-day seminar includes presentations on videography techniques and the steps to earn the Remote Pilot License to legally fly for journalistic purposes, plus an afternoon of hands-on flight.

The public is welcome to attend with a $195 workshop fee collected at the door prior to the start of the workshop.
Student registration is free.

Click here to register via the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute website

See the page link below for more information:

Drone hits airliner in London

Sobering news today:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/17/drone-hits-british-airways-plane/

It serves as a reminder of the importance to educate all UA operators on the safety procedures, legal guidelines, flight maneuvers and professional responsibility associated with these new aircraft.
This applies to domestic as well as international operations.

The goal of the Missouri Drone Journalism program is to encourage safe and responsible flight, and avoid something like this ever happening to a journalist or any professional in another discipline.

DJI Recognizes Missouri Drone Journalism Program

 

DJI_Website

 

 

Our Missouri Drone Journalism program received promotional support from DJI.  The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute recently purchased the DJI Inspire 1 for the Missouri Drone Journalism Program at the Missouri School of Journalism.  We created a custom tiger-stripe “skin” wrap for the Inspire as branding for a project in Zambia, Africa.  We also fly Phantom quadcopters in our class “Civilian Drone Issues, Applications and Flight.”

Workshop Provides Safety Education for Unmanned Aircraft Operators

Rick Shaw attended an intensive symposium workshop on drone flight safety at the Unmanned Safety Institute in Orlando, Florida in June 2015.  Read his reflections on the importance of drone safety training.  The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute sponsored his tuition for the specialized training that earned him UAS Safety Certification and UAS Instructor Certification for small unmanned aircraft from the Unmanned Safety Institute, which is affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Find the story here.