(Source: Washington Post)
Sure, Ben Kreimer holds a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska’s journalist school. But he doesn’t see himself as a journalist.
“I call myself a journalism technologist,” Kreimer told me. “I’m interested in experimenting with technology to see how it can be used to tell stories.”
While analog-age journalists have long told meaningful stories by splicing together sentences into powerful prose, Kreimer talks of stitching together images and overlaying data to create visual stories that resonate.
He wants to take the latest digital tools of today and craft stories in ways we’ve never seen before. Those stories will leverage the unique capabilities of drones and sensors. Kreimer is the first fellow at the Buzzfeed Open Lab for Journalism, Technology and the Arts, which was announced Wednesday.
“The logic of this new lab is: screw it, let’s fly drones. Drones with lasers,” Buzzfeed’s Mat Honan and Jonah Peretti wrote in a post introducing the lab. “And more to the point: Let’s build drones with lasers and show everyone how to make them, too. We want to push the envelope. We want to get just on the edge of what’s possible, and what’s permissible.”
Since being chastised by the FAA in 2013 for using drones in a project at the University of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism Lab, Kreimer has taken his work overseas. But now regulators around the world are moving to restrict drones as well. In October 2014, Kreimer used a drone to build a 3D model of the Dandora dump in Nairobi. He programmed his DJI Phantom to fly back and forth, taking a photo every two seconds. Shortly after Kenyan authorities banned the use of drones.