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Eyes in the Sky

Why All Reporters (Not Just J-School Students) Should Learn to Fly Drones

A reconnaissance drone airborne on March 19, 2013 in Weisswasser, Germany

Photograph by Joern Haufe/Getty Images

A reconnaissance drone airborne on March 19, 2013 in Weisswasser, Germany

These days the future of journalism may look cloudy. But one thing about the future of the business is clear, according to ABC News. It will be full of drones.

“In fact, the emergence of drone journalism is expected to become such a mainstay of the media industry in the next few years that undergraduate journalism students at the University of Missouri Journalism School, in Columbia, Mo., are now taking courses on how to use drones to report stories,” ABC News reported March 22.

“The project’s goal is to use drones to gather images that will enhance news stories and, potentially, to generate stories,” reports the website for the University of Missouri.

All of which makes perfect sense. But given the growing importance of drones, why limit drone training to cub reporters? Here are seven reasons why all journalists should be trained to fly drones.

1)  Journalists will need something new and brave to entertain readers once the GIF-journalism bubble collapses.

2) It is more exhilarating than transcribing interviews.

3) It will make it easier to collect overdue freelance checks from rickety publishers.

4) “Shoe-leather” reporting sounds so 19th century.

5) It is only a matter of time before Ben Smith starts hiring drone reporters for massive BuzzFeed native-advertising, Corgi-Iditarod expansion thingy in Antarctica

6) It is better for a journalist’s ego than writing for free.

7) It will be fun to accuse rival reporters of “droning it in.”

Gillette is a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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