Syracuse - MS in Communications

Week 9 – Drone Journalism

Being from Maryland and going to the College of William and Mary in the Hampton Roads section of Virginia, I make sure to stay up to date on news facing the Mid-Atlantic US. This week Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm is heading towards the region between South Carolina and Virginia. Researchers are protecting an extremely strong impact as this should be the biggest hurricane to ever hit the East Coast. With that in mind drone journalism could show the areas most likely to be affected before the storm. This would give a real snapshot of who this storm is affecting and helping us to make sense of the storm before impact. After impact drone journalism can be used as soon as it is safe to record images and videos. Many areas will likely see intense flooding and property damage, and drone video would help us survey the land and damage.

As we’ve seen in many other cases the more effective the media is in telling a story, the more support it gets from the public. Just look at the discrepancies between coverage of Hurricane Harvey in Texas which killed 107 people but raised at least $72 million from donations, and Hurricane Maria which is reported to have killed at least 3,000 people. The media coverage of Harvey was way more extensive, in addition to the fact that continental U.S. disasters normally receive more support than disasters elsewhere. By properly and effectively covering the before images of areas and the damage done media can tell the story of the storm and help to raise money for improvements and rebuilding.

A field test for this idea would be hard as one individual because many of these areas are receiving evacuations notices. A full team of drone flying experts would be needed to cover the vast amount of area desired. To test the idea I would have two crowdfunding pages, one with the drone video and one with regular pictures taken by the media. We would compare the results of the donations after a month.


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