Credit: Image from Pixabay

Drone footage is being increasingly featured in news reports, with drones providing both a way to produce cheaper aerial shots than previously possible as well as access to places where it could be dangerous to film through other means.

But paired with sensors, for example, drones can make an impact in newsgathering and storytelling well beyond simply providing footage.

To explore the possibilities of drone usage in journalism, University of Central Lancashire's (UCLan) Civic Drone Centre and Trinity Mirror, in partnership with Journalism.co.uk and others, are hosting a hackathon in Manchester on 21 January.

DroneHack: Journalism is open to all interested journalists, creatives, storytellers and technologists, regardless of their previous experience working with drones.

Participants will work in teams created by the organisers, to ensure each team has members with the technical skills required to complete the challenge, and flying lessons will be available on the day.

Alternatively, participants who already have a complete team can register the entire group from the start.

Those taking part will be provided with all the tools and technology necessary to get the drones off the ground, and "drone doctors" will be around to help the teams with any technical issues.

The DroneHack will also feature talks from experts, including Ben Kreimer, journalism technologist and former beta fellow at BuzzFeed's Open Lab; John Mills, lecturer and researcher based at the Media Innovation Studio at UCLan; and Darren Ansell, space and aerospace engineering lead in the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences at UCLan.

Talks will cover the current use of drones in journalism and other potential solutions, such as using sensors to collect data, as well as the legal issues surrounding drone operations in the United Kingdom.

DroneHack: Journalism will take place at the Sharp Project in Manchester, and you can register for free and find more details about the day on Eventbrite.

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