The Drone Girl speaks on the hopes and challenges for drone journalists

Sally French, a.k.a. The Drone Girl, is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate, and drone journalist and hobbyist. Photo by Stuart Palley.

Sally French, a.k.a. The Drone Girl, is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate, and drone journalist and hobbyist. Photo by Stuart Palley.

What's the first big purchase you make, after you graduate from one of the country's first drone journalism programs? For Sally French, it was a DJI Phantom and a GoPro HD camera. French, a reporter for the Orange County Register, uses her recently-acquired equipment to publish aerial photos, videos, and stories about her experiences as a drone hobbyist and a journalist on thedronegirl.com.

She recently freelanced a story for Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) about why she went all-in with her purchase of a personal drone. Here's a snippet of what she wrote:

International news outlets are already jumping on drone use for investigative journalism purposes. Australia’s 60 Minutes used a drone to show fire damage and overcrowding at a detention center where they were denied entrance.

One of my coworkers, a photojournalist at a major daily newspaper in California, told me just the other day how he wished he had a drone to photograph a crime scene in a wilderness area that would have been impossible for him to access on foot.
— Sally French, "The Drone Girl"

French, who is a member here at DroneJournalism.org, also recently interviewed Aaron Broide, the CNN producer who hacked together a drone to report on the aftermath of the 2012 Tuscaloosa tornado outbreak. He likely was the first journalist in America to have used a drone for a news report. This story and more is posted on her website.