Flight School: School of Media hosts first of its kind Drone Journalism Symposium

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘drone’? Does it conjure up images of a military aircraft, or do you think of remote-control toys?

What if we told you that drones were the future of photojournalism, and not just something your neighbour does for fun on the side?

The faculty and students of the School of Media held the very first drone journalism symposium in Canada on May 2, 2019 at Seneca College. Flight School asked one simple question: what do Canadian journalism students need to know about drones?

Believe it or not, this simple question has a number of complex answers. We got a taste of what they could be from a wide range of industry experts, including educators, reporters, and legislators. 

We had the opportunity to hear from educators in Journalism programs such as Jeff Ducharme of the College of the North Atlantic, Bill Hutchison of Seneca College and Christina Jones of Conestoga College, as well as a recent graduate of Seneca’s journalism program Lauren Toffan.

The morning keynote speaker Jeff Ducharme, gave his insight on curriculum objectives and necessary changes to keep up with changing technology in photojournalism, as the College of the North Atlantic hosts a groundbreaking drone journalism program that he hopes will inspire programs across the country.

Our second panel of the day featured Sylvain Bourque of Transport Canada, Ruby Sayyed of IATA and David Hansell of DJI who spoke to us about the regulations and safety concerns when operating in the field. These issues are particularly relevant with the rule changes being implemented in Canada as of June 2019.

The final panel of the day featured employers who use drone technology in the field. Anjuli Semple of CBC News, Troy Gallant of CP24 and Greg Agvent of CNN AIR spoke to attendees about what it takes to use drone technology in the field, and supplied helpful tips on breaking into the field.

Our afternoon keynote address came from Greg Agvent who spoke about the ways that CNN uses drone technology in the field. This gave us a unique perspective from major news stations in the United States. He also shared some of the techniques CNN uses to implement drone journalism. 



For those of you that may have missed this awesome event, fear not— you can watch the panels from the day!



Congratulations to the team that put this event together, and thank you to Lynda Calvert and Beth Agnew for having us at this one of a kind symposium!