Drones & Journalism

You may have seen their footage from protests, sporting events and the Nepal earthquake. You may have watched them whizzing around public parks and beaches. But, thanks to stringent rules set up by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), drones are still a limited part of the modern journalist’s reporting arsenal. 

Granny Cart Productions

Lea Khayata and Elettra Fiumi met at Columbia Journalism School in 2011. They worked on their master’s project together and got along exceptionally well. When the school year ended and they started looking for jobs, they couldn’t find anything that suited them. “Everything was very particular: only research, or only shooting, or only editing, things like that. And the way we had learned things was to do everything from beginning to end,” explained Lea. So with a little encouragement from their teacher, they decided to take the jump and create their own production company: Granny Cart Productions.

In this video, they explain their work and how they put their company together.

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The freelance market can be precarious, especially for those who are just starting out. Journalists complain about poor pay, unclear expectations and needy editors - a contract can help you avoid these problems. Columbia Visuals reporter Joanna Plucinska met with Bill Loundy, the Director of Talent Management at Content.ly, to discuss some of the things that every freelancer should keep in mind when drafting a contract.

Anatomy of a Viral Video

Prior to entering journalism school, I interned for the digital department at an entertainment company in NYC. One main objective at this company was to create videos that had the potential to get lots of views, i.e. videos that would go “viral.” As long as the videos were entertaining and attracted lots of eyeballs, they were considered successful.

I began to understand what made these types of videos popular, but I wondered if the producers of videos that dealt with more serious topics followed the same guidelines. Was there someone in every newsroom video department saying things like, “Make that petty theft more entertaining, so it gets more views”?

There are some companies out there who are successful at getting more important stories to go viral – Mashable, BuzzFeed and YouTube are some of the better-known examples. In journalism school, we didn’t learn “the rules” of  producing viral news content. Do rules even exist?

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Kōan: Creating Community

Photojournalism can be a very lonely profession, especially as a freelancer working in remote areas. That’s why photographers Alex Potter, Allison Joyce, Amanda Mustard, Cooper Neill and Nicolas Tanner decided to form their own collective.

“If you actually listen to people, they will talk to you.”

GIDEON’S ARMY, an award winning documentary that premiered at Sundance Film Festival and on HBO in 2013, follows the stories of three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South.

The main characters work to challenge the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point.  They struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads; even the most committed often give up in their first year.

The director of Gideon’s Army, Dawn Porter, recently spoke at the Columbia Journalism School during Film Fridays. These are some highlights from the conversation, led by professor Betsy West.

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“The most important thing to have is a good eye.”

We spoke to the talented photo editor Myles Little of Time magazine about his day-to-day job, choosing photographers and images for TIME magazine covers and his advice for aspiring photographers and editors.

“Love the work you do and stand behind it.”

Lauren Steel is a Managing Editor at Reportage by Getty Images and is responsible for a group of renowned photographers. She started at Getty Images in 2003 as an entertainment assignment editor for the newswire, and she has been a part of the Eddie Adams Workshop faculty for the last 8 years. what she looks for in photographers, and what photojournalists who want representation with Getty need to pay attention to.

“I’m always trying to find other ways to fund my work”

Documentary photographer Diana Markosian talks about making a living as a freelance photographer.

Covering Sensitive Populations: Working with Undocumented Immigrants

This post on working with undocumented immigrants is part one of our Covering Sensitive Populations series, where we help dissect the intricacies of working with subjects that may be made vulnerable to media attention.

“I felt like the last thing the world needed was another photographer chasing headlines”

Part two of a discussion with Matt Black on forging your own path as a photographer

“photographers can get in the way of themselves, and lose sight of what’s essential”

This is part 1 of a conversation with photographer Matt Black, discussing his NPPA proposal and his Black Okies project.