College of the North Atlantic is taking its journalism program where no college or university in Canada has gone before - to the skies.
As part of its photojournalism course, College of the North Atlantic will offer instruction in drone journalism. The emerging field uses remote controlled quadrocopters, called drones, to capture images and data. It is believed College of the North Atlantic is the first institution in the country to incorporate the use of drones into its journalism curriculum.
College journalism instructor Jeff Ducharme says being at the forefront of such technology is important and it shows how forward-thinking College of the North Atlantic is.
“Being the first journalism school in Canada to offer such instruction is something we don’t take lightly,” said Ducharme, noting that students will be instructed in the ethics, law and operation of drones. “Journalism is changing rapidly as we search for new and unique ways to deliver information to people and drone journalism is an exciting part of that change.”
Transport Canada governs the operation of drones. While the regulations in Canada are, at the moment, restrictive, Ducharme believes equipping the college’s students with the latest technology will make them that much more attractive to potential employers and expand their employment opportunities.
“The students who graduate our program in the next two years will be the first students in the country to receive such training.”
Ian Hannah, a Gemini Award winning producer with 25 years of experience, whose company Avrobotics uses drones to shoot video for a variety of industries, has been at the forefront of drone technology in Canada.
“I think being the first in Canada to offer such a course will give (CNA’s) students the best possible chance of not just entering a brand new field, but the opportunity to help change it and develop it into something that, in the near future, will be an important part of journalism,” Hannah said.
And, says Hannah, he expects Transport Canada to change its regulations to accommodate the new technology.
“Its potential for newsgathering and reporting is game changing,” said Hannah. “It will require new thinking and a new set of skills for journalists. It’s a brave new world where new technology and reporting converge to create not just aerial pictures, but data and real information. You can put cameras and pretty much any other sensors on board to capture images, video and raw data to help the move towards data-driven journalism.”
College of the North Atlantic is the public college of Newfoundland and Labrador. It offers a one-year post-diploma and two-year diploma journalism program.
College of the North Atlantic