Michael McKisson

Disruptive Journalism Educator
Michael J McKisson

Michael J McKisson

Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Arizona

Michael McKisson is the chief technology nerd on the faculty. He is currently working with students on virtual reality and 360-degree-video storytelling, drone videography and sensor journalism. He recently earned his Part 107 FAA Certification allowing students to use drones in their reporting under his guidance. He advises the school’s Online News Association student group and is a core member of News Hack Arizona, a weekend hackathon for journalists. He teaches in person and online classes in digital storytelling, news startups, product development and mobile applications. He is the founder and editor of BicycleTucson.com an online news site devoted to reporting about Tucson’s bicycle infrastructure and community. Prior to joining the University of Arizona faculty he worked as an online content producer at the Arizona Daily Star. McKisson has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Master’s in Business Administration. 

Drone Journalism

McKisson earned his sUAV pilot’s license from the FAA in September 2016. In addition to teaching students the rules, regulations and best practives of drone journalism, McKisson works with media partners to film for stories they are producing. 

McKisson worked with a colleague and accompanied eight students to the U.S./Mexico and U.S./Canadian border to compare and contrasts the two borders using drone videography. The work appears on the website Bordering110.com, which won AEJMC’s best student digital journalism project. 

360° Video

McKisson and students raised more than $6,000 using Kickstarter to purchase the school’s first 360-degree camera and editing software. 

Students have documented important stories around the worls using the cutting-edge technology.

We were among the first universities to work with 360-degree videography, which helps keep students ahead of the curve and inspires a sense of experimentation in them.

NewsHack Arizona

McKisson is one of the lead lean planners of NewsHack Arizona, which is an affordable weekend of journalism training. 

The two-day event is desgined to teach working journalists and students new skills that will improve their reporting. 

The first year almost 100 journalists were trained in data reporting and data visulaizations. The second year, about 80 journalists learned how to collect their own data using computers, sensors and programming languages.

Online News Association

I began the school’s Online News Association at UA club, an active offshoot of the national journalism organization and together we raised more than $3,000 to begin working with virtual reality and 360-degree journalism before many others in the state and country. 

The local club focuses on working with emmerging technologies and producing digital news stories. 

In additon to the local ONA club, I assisten the national group in selecting panels and presentations for the 2017 ONA conference.