dji phantom

Drone photography and videography has exploded in the last year, thanks to a confluence of affordable flying quadcopters and similar devices, alongside light and high quality cameras to load on them. But thanks to their small size, maneuverability, and increasingly low price, they’re offering journalists a view rarely seen before — and it’s popular enough that journalism schools are beginning to pay attention.

According to a report in the New York Times, journalism schools have started teaching students how to use aerial drones. They cite the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University as offering drone journalism classes, with Missouri actually teaching hands on skills.

Meanwhile, there are a host of other issues associated with the proliferation of drones. Chief among them is how the FAA deals with the flying machines, requiring permission to use them — though that’s meant to change by 2015. There’s also the requirement of competency of the pilot. If something goes wrong while flying one, the best case scenario is that it lands harmlessly, only damaging itself. But a recent accident in Manhattan saw a falling drone almost hit a man — which underscores that maybe teaching people the right way to use these things would be an advantage.