Emerging technology affects how journalists deliver information


Fiona McAllister

Instructor Chris Snider demonstrates how to fly the drone using the control pad on his iPhone. Afterwards, Cory Byrd, Lee Summit North senior pictured above was given an opportunity to fly the $300 drone.

Fiona McAllister, reporter

As the iPhone controlled drone took off, Chris Snider, associate professor at Drake University, said that while the drone is cool, he has no idea how to apply it to journalism. The MediaNowSTL camp students shouted in excitement or stared in wide-eyed amazement. Some of the students had probably never seen a drone before, but for Snider, it’s not all about drones.

“[There are] a lot of other things we need to be watching  to see how they are going to affect us, things like using drones to do journalism,” Snider said.

With that in mind, Aaron Manfull, director of student media at Francis Howell North, said that high school journalism departments are shifting over to newer technology, ranging from drones to other technologies such as social media.

Flying above, is the $300 drone that Chris Snider, associate professor at Drake University, bought  for students. "What I just try to do is to introduce it to students and use it in whatever manner we can, use it and then talk about how this could change things," Snider said.
Flying above, is the drone that Chris Snider, associate professor at Drake University, bought for students. “What I just try to do is to introduce it to students, use it and then talk about how this could change things,” Snider said.

“I think that in the high school realm the biggest things right now is schools are working a lot with social media,” Manfull said. “I think live broadcasting is coming in and I think this is going to be a big year for live broadcasting. I think the other big thing this year is people figuring out the potential that their phones, tablets, and mobile devices hold.”

Jake Chiarelli, Francis Howell North senior, said that their department uses technology such as Macs, iPods, iPads, GoPros, mobile devices, and cameras on a daily basis.

“I don’t think we would be where we are if we didn’t have a lot of technology,” Chiarelli said. “We use a lot of different stuff whether its note taking or getting some mobile reports, things like Videolicious, or using them as recording devices. We life stream a lot of sporting events.”

However, not all student publications at the MediaNowSTL camp are as far ahead as Chiarelli’s. Katelyn Skaggs, St. Francis Borgia senior, is used to dealing with limitations in technology.

“Our website has not been touched since 2011,” Skaggs said.  “Our poll that was sitting on our website was are you afraid of the Mayan apocalypse?”

Despite the different levels of technology in journalism departments, the overall impact of emerging technology in the field of journalism remains the same.

“I think stories can be told in really cool and different ways [with technology], in ways stories couldn’t be told before,” Manfull said. “I think for a reporter there is so much you can do with [technology] to help organize your notes and to tell your story better.”

The new technology gives journalists more opportunities to add multimedia elements in an easier and more efficient way than before.

“Having the ability to record audio or record video could just be such a nice edition to your coverage,” Snider said. “I mean to be able to get information directly from your source to your coverage and have them see the information or hear the information will just be an added to touch that makes it so much more full for viewers.”

As the journalism field continues to adopt new technologies, the million dollar question Manfull said, will be about the future of journalism.

“Where I see journalism heading in the next five to ten years is more towards digital,” Chiarelli said. “You are going to see more professional newspapers and magazines go digital and focus on the digital audience. It’s going to be people like the New York Times, which has already done a phenomenal job switching over. I think it would be unwise to not use technology as a journalist.”