The Mental Munition Factory is written and produced by Matthew Schroyer, a drone and data journalist based in Urbana, Illinois, who is afflicted with a fascination of mass communication and its role in democracy.
In addition to traditional and data journalism, Matthew Schroyer is developing drone technology and small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAV) for use in journalistic enterprises. To this end, he has founded the Professional Society of Drone Journalists (PSDJ), located at DroneJournalism.org.
He's written for newspapers, alternative newsweeklies and news websites about presidential campaigns, energy, pollution, local politics, public housing, poverty, musicians, school board meetings and assorted slices of life.
He holds a master's in journalism University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he was a contributor to CU-CitizenAccess.org, a community news website funded by the Knight Foundation. While a graduate student, he taught journalism and contributed to CampusCrime.net, an interactive web site using data journalism practices to report on crime at the U of I, which won an Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). At the UofI, he completed an investigation of how pollution from old, coal-fired power plants was affecting the health of families in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, and using public records, showed how south-side children had the greatest exposure to lead in Chicago.
He now works on a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Illinois called EnLiST, which offers unique entrepreneurial leadership training and professional development for K-12 STEM teachers. He functions in a variety of roles at the grant, including communications specialist and social network analyst. Schroyer first learned how to use social network analysis as part of his data journalism education, and at EnLiST he uses those same methods to understand how teaching and learning networks work between classrooms, schools, and districts, and how those networks can be used to effect positive changes.
For EnLiST, he created the “Drones for Schools” program, which teaches core science and engineering concepts behind unmanned aerial systems while high school students design, construct, and operate their own drones to study and learn more about the environment. These drones are based on the same technology behind the investigative journalism drones of DroneJournalism.org.
Schroyer has spoken about drone technology and drone and data journalism at several kinds of professional seminars, and for various media outlets. He is available to teach news organizations how to adopt data journalism strategies and utilize drones for low-cost, high-impact investigative reporting.
IN THE MEDIA
- Meadows, Jim; Moon, Lindsey (Producer). (2013, April 4). "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles." Focus. Urbana, IL: WILL.
- Wolfgang, David (2013, April). "Drone Journalism: Is Resistance Futile?" Quill.
- Caputo, Luigi. (2013, March 4). "Drone Journalism, uno sguardo inedito sugli eventi." Corriere Della Sera.
- Valentine, Ashsih. (2013, February 19). "Drone journalism takes reporting into the future." Technograph.
- Banse, Philip. (2012, November 23). "Wann Jurnalisten abheben dürfen." Deutschlandradio.
- Jefferies, Duncan. (2012, October 29). "Drone journalism set for takeoff – once they're permitted to use our airspace." The Guardian.
- Popescu, Adam. (2012, September 7). "#muckedup No. 14 Recap: Drone Journalism." The Muck Rack Blog.
- Gazire, Nina. (2012, August/September). "Drone: Noticias Que Voam." seLecT.
- Butts, Tom. (2012, April). "Drone journalism: the news choppers of tomorrow." TV Technology.
- Brendan Sweeney (Producer). (2012, February 22). "Do-It-Yourself Drones: New Civilian Uses for Unmanned Aircraft." The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Washington, D.C.: WAMU.
- Bell, Melissa. (2011, December 4). "Drone journalism? The idea could fly in the U.S." The Washington Post.
- Jeff Bossert (Producer). (2010, December 17). "U of I Journalism Students Develop Interactive Website Devoted to Campus Crime." Urbana, IL: WILL.
- Mark Tremayne & Andrew Clark (2013): NEW PERSPECTIVES FROM THE SKY,
Digital Journalism, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2013.805039
- Gibb, Alexandra (2013): DRONING THE STORY, Columbia Journalism School Tow Center, http://towcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/GIBB-drone-journalism-thesis.pdf
- Abd El Khalick, F., Schroyer, M., Martin, A., Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Effecting ‘Reform’ through Transformations in District-Wide Science Teacher Learning Networks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
- North, M. Schroyer, M. (2013). Re-Imagining Toys: Merging the Physical & Digital. Presentation at South by Southwest, Austin, TX.
- Abd El Khalick, F., Schroyer, M., Martin, A., Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Monitoring Transformations in District-Wide Teacher Learning Networks through Social Network Analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership. Washington, D.C.
- Abd-El-Khalick, F., Haythornthwaite, C., Martin, A., Schroyer, M., Phelps, K. (2012). Characterizing district-wide teachers’ science learning networks: silos and barriers to change and innovation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Indianapolis, IN.
- Abd-El-Khalick, F., Frericks, C., Haythornthwaite, C., Schroyer, M., Price, R., Martin, A., Bergandine, D. (2012). Understanding Barriers to Change and Innovation in STEM Teaching and Learning: Silos and District-wide Teacher Learning Networks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership. Washington, D.C.
- M.S., Journalism. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2011.
- B.S., Mass Communications (specialization in print and electronic media). Minor in creative writing. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2008.
- [some undergraduate education in mechanical engineering, including courses in Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Aided Drafting (AutoCAD), Computer Programming, Dynamics, Physics, Statics, Statistics]
- Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence, Online News Reporting, National Winner, 2010
- Illinois College Press Association, second-place award for in-depth reporting, 2008
- St. Louis Newspaper Guild Award, 2008
- St. Louis Press Club Award, 2007
- Fall 2010: JOUR200, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign