Staying in-tune with cutting-edge communication technology SOC now has a drone

Drone Faculty Retreat Pic 2

By Shiza Manzoor

Over the summer of 2017, the School of Communication acquired a drone: The Phantom 4 Pro Plus to be exact.

Dr. Matthew Smith, the director of the School of Communication, commenting on the timeliness of this newly acquired asset said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but TV 7 [WDBJ-7] in Roanoke has been pretty heavily promoting the fact that they have a drone now. Anybody going into journalism will be working with this technology going forward, so it’s good that we have that here to give students a little hands-on experience before they go out there.”

Obtaining a drone is the easiest step of the process, with it being accessible online and on shelves for business and consumers alike. Flying it, is another story, where all rules and regulations come in.

“If you’re going to use the drone for commercial use, you need to take an exam on the fly pads, weather reports, different defined air spaces,” said Dr. West Bowers. “For example, you can’t fly near airports or the arsenal.”

Luckily for the School of Communication, one of its instructors, professor Joseph Staniunas participated in intensive training in drone journalism via the Poynter Institute. He has also taken the exam and now has a license to operate a drone.

Staniunas used the SOC drone, which was debuted at the summer faculty retreat, to take a group picture. But the drone will be used for much more than that.

“The hope is to introduce it in our introductory-level classes, give them just the “OK, this is what it is and this is how you work it,” you know, have them watch Staniunas use it,” added Smith.

In the near future, Staniunas is hoping to teach a course on drone photography and production.

Dec 7, 2017
School of Communication