Category Archive: Blog

Second Drone Flight with SU Football

On Thursday we went back into SU’s Manley Field House with a camera-equipped dji Phantom drone to perform some new test flights. Our goal this time was to get aerial footage of a few typical football plays, including short passes, long passes and runs. You can watch the video here:

While it’s a little choppy (an issue that can easily be addressed with the addition of a gimbal), we got some good results and were able to show how aerial photography can be a safe, effective way to get footage that is difficult or impossible without the use of a drone. You can see the best example near the end, where the drone follows a player during a long pass.

Covering a casual practice is one thing, but it’s difficult at this point to say how this type of footage could be captured safely with more players on the field, not to mention a live audience in the stands and coaches and players on the sidelines. Thankfully, we’re not the first to attempt this, and we most certainly won’t be the last. Fox Sports in Australia is already well into its second year of drone-assisted sports journalism with its FoxCopter, and the FAA specifically mentioned “communications and broadcast, including news/sports event coverage” in a roadmap document about the introduction of unmanned aerial aircraft systems in the U.S. The question of using drones to cover U.S. football games is a matter of “when,” not “if.”

We want to thank Bob Brotzki, Assistant Football Coach, and Steve Scarnecchia, Director of Football Operations, for their participation. Both are featured in the video along with other SU football staff members.

Kick it Up Updates

We’re getting ready to feature and promote Kickstarter campaigns through Newhouse’s Kick it Up Crowdfunding Training and Acceleration program. Here are a couple of important updates.

Crowdfunding for Media Rescheduled to February

Due to some unavoidable scheduling conflicts at Kickstarter, the “Crowdfunding for Media” event originally planned for November 19 will be rescheduled to sometime in February. We know that many of you were looking forward to meeting with Kickstarter and getting advice on your campaigns, and we apologize for any inconvenience this causes you. Fortunately, Kickstarter’s Stephanie Pereira provided a lot of useful information in a Webinar in October, which you can watch here. We also highly recommend that you take an hour to go through the information at Kickstarter School.

But Keep Working on Your Campaigns!

While the crowdfunding event date is changing, we are still planning to start featuring and promoting Newhouse students campaigns beginning Wednesday, November 20. If you’re interested in receiving matching funds from Newhouse, make sure you do the following:

  1. Sign in to and request a connection with the Newhouse network. We can’t feature your campaign on the Newhouse curated page until you connect with us.
  2. Begin your Kickstarter campaign, and let us know it’s live so that we can feature it. We will feature any campaign from a Newhouse student as long as it meets the same quality standard for publication that you are used to in a Newhouse class, or a site like Since Kickstarter reviews and approves every campaign on its site, make sure you allow enough time for their approval.
  3. After your campaign is live, you can apply for matching funds from Newhouse.

Have questions? Fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you.

Good luck!




Video from Waveables, Wearables and Flyables: Your Body is the Computer

We had a great turnout for our October 29 event focused on gesture interfaces, wearable computing and drones. We will post more video and photos soon, but in the meantime you can watch the archived YouTube video stream here. Thanks to Jason Kohlbrenner for manning the camera!

Dan Pacheco’s presentation at the UNLV Beyond Convergence conference

Professor Dan Pacheco gave a presentation at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Beyond Convergence, titled ““All your (data)base are belong to us : The rise of the empowered public and its impact on the journalist-source relationship.”

The full presentation can be downloaded here. It is made available for education use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Only License.

Have questions? Contact Dan Pacheco at drpacheco at syr dot edu, or click the Contact Us button above. Pacheco can also be contacted through Twitter at @pachecod or @JournovationSU.

Students’ Drones Take Flight in Syracuse University’s Indoor Sports Arenas

It’s been almost a year since Professor Dan Pacheco first brought drones into the S.I. Newhouse school to experiment with aerial footage for journalism, and a lot has changed since then. Most notably, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun to flex its regulatory muscles to effectively shut down outdoor drone flights by state-funded universities by requiring certificates of authorization that don’t yet exist.

Participants of the first indoor drone test flight at Syracuse University's Manley Field House on October 4, 2013. From left to right: Prof. Dan Pacheco, Pacheco and SU students Jay Getman, Arland Whitfield and Erin Miller.

Participants of the first indoor drone test flight at Syracuse University’s Manley Field House on October 4, 2013. From left to right: Gabriel Smadi, freshman in LC Smith; Prof. Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation at Newhouse; Jay Getman and Arland Whitfield, freshmen from SU’s iSchool; and Erin Miller, advertising student at Newhouse. (Photo by Lenny Christopher).

Because Syracuse University is not engaging in outdoor flights at this point, we have not received warnings from the FAA, but we are closely monitoring the regulatory environment as the clock counts down to September 30, 2015 — the date by which Congress has mandated that the FAA create a method to certify and authorize commercial drone flights.

Meanwhile, student interest in drones is increasing. The first multidisciplinary student-run organization, which is advised by Pacheco, is starting to form with representatives from several SU schools, including Newhouse, the iSchool and Smith College of Engineering.

With outdoor flights on the back burner, Pacheco, with the support of SU Athletics, is helping the student organization get indoor flight time in SU’s indoor sports arenas. The first flight happened on October 4, 2013 in SU’s Manley Field House using iSchool student Arland Whitfield’s Naza drone. Whitfield was accompanied by two students from the Newhouse school, another from the iSchool, and one from LC Smith college of engineering. You can see the results of their first test in this video.

Pacheco also recently sent two members of the student organization, Jay Getman and Erin Miller, to the DARC Drone & Aerial Robotics Conference in New York City. You can stay up to date on Getman’s research into drones on his blog, which is part of an independent study with Pacheco focused on new technologies for media.

So where do things go from here? Pacheco is actively discussing next steps with SU Athletics. Apart from what we may do with them, the area of Drone Sports Journalism is ripe with possibilities. Have an idea for using flying cameras in sports? Post your comments here.

– Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation


Press and Media Mentions

Here’s an ongoing collection of articles that mention or quote Professor Pacheco. A complete list can be found in this Diigo group.

Waveables, Wearables and Flyables: YOUR BODY IS THE COMPUTER

Digital Edge Seminar Series

First there were PCs, then mobile devices. What’s next? New advances use your body as the interface to create and explore media and journalism.




Free and open to the public.

Join us for a fun evening packed with hands-on experiences and demonstrations that sound like science fiction, but are already shaping the world of tomorrow.

Dan Pacheco, Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation.
Dr. Frank Biocca, VR pioneer and Director of the M.I.N.D. Lab.
Newhouse Global Leaders in Digital & Social Media Speaker Series.

“What Could Jeff Bezos Want With the Washington Post?” explores the Amazon founder and CEO’s purchase

Dan Pacheco, Newhouse’s Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation, is the author of “What Could Jeff Bezos Want With the Washington Post?” The column, published on August 6, at PBS Idea Lab, discusses possible factors behind the purchase of the paper by Bezos, founder and CEO of “…the reality is that even Jeff Bezos probably doesn’t know what he’s getting into,” writes Pacheco.

Jeff Bezos. Image courtesy of Flickr user Steve Jurvetson and used here under the Creative Commons license.

Four New Digital Edge Opportunities

Hello! I’m Dan Pacheco, the Chair of Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I’m starting this blog on the Journovation site to keep people at Newhouse and the greater Syracuse University community up to date on things I’m working on. I will aim to post something at least once a week.

As a first post, I want to share some updates that I sent out in the Digital Edge email list, which you can join by clicking the Email List button at the top of this blog, or by clicking here.

There are three new developments at the Newhouse School through my Chair that I want to share. Students, faculty and friends are invited to stop by my office in Newhouse 2, room 494, to learn more about any of these.

1. Dan Schultz, our new programmer in residence
We’ve all seen innovative digital news packages that go beyond simple text, photos and video (for example, the New York Times’ Snow Fall). Things like data visualization, mobile apps and even cutting-edge technologies like Google Glass are always pushing the envelope for journalists, and you want to have these skills in your portfolio. But to do that you often need to know a little coding, or get the interest of a programmer. How do you get past that hump?

We’re excited to announce that Dan Schultz, an MIT-educated Knight-Mozilla fellow who spent the last year hacking together projects for the Boston Globe, is joining Newhouse as our first visiting programmer in residence, and he’s here to work with students on their projects. Newhouse students who have an idea for Dan can fill out this online form ( and we’ll get back to you with questions. Your project doesn’t need to be connected to a class, but if it is be sure to talk to the instructor first about your idea and how you’d like to involve a programmer. (Have an idea, but you’re not a student? Dan can be reached directly at

2. Hacks & Hackers meetup at Syracuse Media Group next Wednesday, 9/4 @6 p.m.
A quiet revolution in journalism is underway in Syracuse and Central New York, and it’s coming from a surprising source. Citizen programmers (“hackers,” but the friendly kind) are creating online databases, crime maps and more to shed sunshine on important issues the community — all on their own, just for fun. They want to work with journalists to bring data and content together with code to create something even better. This group is called Hacks and Hackers, and you can get involved by going to

The next meetup is at the Syracuse Media Group, home to, next Wednesday September 4, 2013 at 6 p.m. This is a great chance to meet editors, reporters and technology technologists at, as well as some principals at the Innovation Trail that covers technology innovation for WRVO and other area public radio stations. And most importantly, meet local hackers who want to work with you to make your stories take advantage of everything digital has to offer. Note that for this event you must RSVP through Meetup ( so that the group can order enough munchies and drinks.


3. Kick it Up on Kickstarter!
Crowdfunding portals like are emerging as a powerful force for helping people who have ideas get them funded and launched, and that includes journalism. A few enterprising Newhouse students have already used the platform to fund their storytelling projects, like sophomore Luke Rafferty who launched The Timeless Artisans with the help of 112 backers who collectively gave $6,321.

Now we want to help other students follow in his footsteps. “Kick it Up” is a new program to help Newhouse students who want to learn how to run a successful campaign on Kickstarter. The programs helps in two ways:

In-person and online training on how to run an effective Kickstarter campaign, which will be held on Tuesday, November 19, at 6 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. (This event will be open to the public, so if you’re not an enrolled student please plan on coming anyway!)
Monetary awards of up to $1,500 for students who post Kickstarter projects this fall under the theme of “Non-Fiction Storytelling or Services” and attract high numbers of backers.

You can learn more about Kick it Up here:

4. The Digital Petting Zoo Opens Soon!
Last but not least, we’ll soon be opening an indoor zoo! If you’re allergic to furry animals, don’t worry. These animals are all digital, and they want you to try them out, play around and otherwise pet them.  pachecoglassThis fall we have Google Glass, the LeapMotion device, camera drones and some other technologies to showcase.

Petting Zoo hours will be posted on the web site so check back there for more details soon.

It’s gearing up to be a fun semester. Thanks for your interest in the Digital Edge!

– Dan