The Drone Journalism School Webinar


About this product

Understand the legal implications of drone photography in journalism

Type: Webinar

Broadcast Date: June 14, 2017

Time Estimate: One hour

$29.95 $0.00



The Poynter Institute has partnered with Google News Lab, the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska, The National Press Photographers Association and DJI to train more than 350 journalists in drone journalism school classes in 2017. Our workshops in Georgia and New York have filled to capacity and we have two more workshops in Wisconsin and Oregon.

This one-hour webinar gives you a taste of some of the teaching from those three-day drone journalism classes.


  • The basics of the FAA test: What is it, what’s in it, common misconceptions.
  • The lay of the legal landscape and why it is this way. The conflict of local and federal control.
  • The evolution of drone use. Where this is all heading and how drones are becoming essential not just to journalists.
  • The next steps for drone use including 3D mapping and interactive media.
  • The ethical frictions that confront us as drone journalists including privacy, production and safe operation.


Journalists working in any media, journalism students and journalism educators. We especially welcome newsroom managers who will make decisions about drone deployment and need to understand the legal implications of drone photography.


Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world. His teaching focused on writing, reporting, storytelling, ethics, critical thinking, photojournalism, social media and online journalism.

Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Al is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. In 1998, Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.