UM School of Journalism and New Media Trains Three New Drone Pilots

UM journalism faculty members Ji Hoon Heo, Iveta Imre, Michael Fagans and Bobby Steele practice drone flying and photography from the steps of Farley Hall on the Ole Miss campus. Submitted photo

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media has trained three new certified drone pilots.

Professors Iveta Imre, Bobby Steele and Michael Fagans all took Ji Hoon Heo’s drone class, then passed the test to become certified drone pilots.

The university has trained some 30-40 drone pilots who have passed certification, said Heo, an instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications. That number will likely increase to 50 after students from the last class complete the test, he said.

“When I first developed the course, I wanted to teach it the way I wanted to learn,” Heo said. “When I first studied for the test, I had to read 300-plus pages of the study guide that the Federal Aviation Administration had put out. It was dry. So I lecture half the class, and the other times, we go out in groups of three or four in the intramural field, and we practice flying.

“We do cone drills to develop their flying skills and also learn the types of shots you can use with a drone. We take a lot of practice quizzes and tests to get them ready for the FAA Part 107 test, which is what you need to get the certification.”

Imre, who completed Heo’s most recent class, is an assistant professor of visual storytelling at the Ole Miss journalism school.

“I wanted to become a drone pilot because I think having that skill can be very useful for teaching my broadcast journalism classes,” she said. “It was also a challenging goal I set for myself, and the more I got into studying for the exam, the more I actually enjoyed the process and flying drones.

“I think footage you can capture using drones can be extremely useful and can provide a unique visual perspective.”

Imre said having a license to fly drones professionally will allow her to work with students on visually compelling stories.

“The students will be able to fly drones under my supervision, get the experience and create amazing stories for their portfolios,” she said.

For more information on how the School of Journalism and New Media can help you become a certified drone pilot, email jour-imc@olemiss.edu.


By LaReeca Rucker

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