Workshop Highlights Drone Journalism Technology

By Christina Ligi, News and Media Studies major, Class of 2019

Journalism Innovation Day 2019 highlighted the latest technology of drone journalism and its innovative revolution in the world of news. The Schieffer College’s Department of Journalism and Dr. Shugofa Dastgeer, assistant professor of journalism, hosted this year’s Drone Journalism Workshop on Friday, March 29.

Supported by the Matthews Family Endowment for Journalism, this workshop was led by Washington Post reporter Jayne Orenstein. Following her visit to TCU last fall, Orenstein returned to campus to provide hands-on training of this new technology.

As The Post’s assignment editor for emerging video technologies, Orenstein oversees The Post’s drone program for the video department. Specifically, she acknowledges drone technology to further journalism with compelling aerial footage for documentary and investigative journalism.

During the morning lecture, Orenstein talked to students about the ethical challenges and FAA regulations of drone journalism.

One student who attended this event, Isaac Percastegui, a first-year journalism major from Austin, Texas, found this event to be one of the amazing opportunities TCU provides to its students.

Student Isaac Percastegui stands alongside Jayne Orenstein in the Frog Alley Parking Garage to unpack and set up the drone.

Student Isaac Percastegui works with Jayne Orenstein to unpack and set up the drone.

“It was very eye-opening. It’s a lot more than just flying a drone. There’s a lot that goes into thinking about what to cover, how to cover it,” said Percastegui.

Jayne Orenstein stands in front of a group of students and explains the steps to take to successfully operate a drone.

Orenstein talks to students about the steps to take to successfully operate a drone.

The students were presented the opportunity to participate in a drone demonstration over TCU’s campus with Orenstein.

A group of students are gathered around Jayne Orenstein watching the screen to see the footage the drone was capturing from the sky.

A group of students gathers around Orenstein to watch the screen to see the footage the drone was capturing from the sky.

From the top level of the Frog Alley Parking Garage, they assisted her in assembling the drone, reviewing the checklist and some even maneuvered the controller. While the drone was able to capture an aerial view of campus on video, it also had the capacity to capture a still picture of the workshop group from the sky.

A photo of the journalism workshop attendees taken from the drone camera.

A photo of the journalism workshop attendees taken from the drone camera.

After the flying portion of the event, the students were invited to view and edit the footage the drone had captured.

This workshop highlighted a real life demonstration between technology and journalism in hopes of presenting the students with a more diverse experience and more knowledge on how to cover the news.

Most of the students who participated were impressed with the high-quality footage captured from the drone. Despite the high wind speeds of the day, the drone footage remained stable and clear.

“It’s pretty cool because then I’ll be able to expand my horizons on how to actually do journalism as a profession because it’s going to be beyond more than just video taking on the ground or beyond more than just investigating and interviewing,” said Percastegui.

You can view the edited drone footage online at