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19 May 2024

Dubai Press Club, Murdoch University workshop highlights drone journalism technology

By Wam

As part of the ongoing Media National Youth Programme, Dubai Press Club,DPC, in association with Murdoch University, held a specialised workshop on the effective use of unmanned drone aircrafts for newsgathering. The workshop, held at Murdhoch University, Dubai, saw a huge turnout from Emirati media students and young media specialists eager to learn about the use of the technology as a tool to capture footage and add context to visual reports.

The session comes as part of the continuous efforts of DPC to explore the changes in the media sector and encourage media organisations to adapt to modern technologies in order to meet the needs of the public. The use of drones in journalism is blossoming as a new way to get a different perspective on stories that were restricted to expensive aerial shooting platforms like helicopters. Drones are an effective way to gather high quality news imagery.

Commenting on the workshop, Dr. James Trotter, Dean and Academic President, Murdoch University, Dubai, said that the training was aimed at introducing young media professionals to the use of drones in gathering information for visual reports.

"Murdoch University Dubai is honoured to contribute to the second edition of the Media National Youth Programme. We are pleased to support this vital educational Programme by bringing the Academic Chair of Journalism at our Perth campus to Dubai, so that we can provide this highly specialised educational experience in drone journalism to the next generation of Emirati communication specialists," said Trotter.

Salem Belyouha, Acting Director of DPC, said that the second Media National Youth Programme features workshops on a wide range of topics related to the latest technologies and their impact on the media sector. "The use of unmanned drone aircrafts for newsgathering has recently received huge global attention due to the value it can add to news coverage. However, this emerging technology has both pros and cons, which we need to understand in order to best put it to use."

He added that such specialised sessions will help provide young media professionals with deeper knowledge of advanced technologies currently being used in the sector, and also prepare them to deal with future developments in the field. Expressing his appreciation to Murdoch University for its participation in the Programme, he said that educational institutions play a key role in spreading new knowledge and ideas.

Leading the interactive workshop, Andrew Porter, Academic Chair, Journalism, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, covered the basics of how to fly drones safely and successfully and how best to put them to use when it comes to storytelling.

Participants were even given a unique opportunity to see drones in flight and were trained on the way to get started with this new technology. The workshop even tackled the legal and ethical issues of drone journalism and how to safely and effectively maneuver drones to gather news data.

"During the session, we looked at some of the practical, safety and ethical issues that surround the use of drones in journalism. While it opens a door to be able to get aerial images efficiently and cheaply, it brings with it a number of issues – chief among them is safety for people on the ground as well as the aircraft they will now share the skies with," said Porter, adding that the course allowed participants to look at some of the options for training and the kind of equipment that will achieve high quality and professional results.

Porter’s work with drones has seen him achieve a Remote Pilot’s Licence. Before joining the university, he held a career in radio news, and then TV news at commercial stations and Australia’s national broadcaster the ABC. As the academic chair of the journalism programme, Porter has been heavily involved with setting up a structure for the university to safely and legally use drones in teaching and research in many disciplines.

Running until July 2019, the Media National Youth Programme, is a joint initiative of Dubai Press Club and Watani Al Emarat Foundation, which aims to create a comprehensive platform for young Emirati students and media professionals to enhance their knowledge, expertise and skills in media. The Programme features a series of workshops in collaboration with leading academic and media institutions in the country.