Storytelling with technology: CoJMC alumnus Ben Kreimer

Storytelling with technology: CoJMC alumnus Ben Kreimer

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 7:00am
Ben Kreimer setting up a drone.
Ben Kreimer prepares to capture aerial photos and videos using his drone during World Food Week in the Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste. Photo courtesy of Davar Ardalan.

By Karley Powell, advertising and public relations student

Drones, 360 video and virtual reality are tools being used by journalists all over the world. University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumnus Ben Kreimer uses these tools as his medium for sharing his true passion for storytelling. 

"A lot of this is about understanding your passion, pursuing that passion and sharing it with the world," Kreimer said. “Drones and other technologies are a great way to execute my bigger interests."

Kreimer began at UNL unsure of his major. His interest in history and ethnographies led him to start as an ethnic studies major. But soon Kreimer wanted to merge current events with the histories and cultures he was learning about. That's when Kreimer began in broadcast production.

“I liked using news gathering tools like video cameras,” Kreimer said. “But I didn’t want to be just a producer.”

Kreimer formed friendships with a variety of professors and grew interested in what they were doing and how they were using the technologies in the college. One of those professors was Matt Waite. 

"He had one of the first consumer drones back in January of 2012. I came in to talk to him, and it was sitting on his desk." Kreimer said. "I caught on to the concept of the drones right away."

Simply catching on to the concept though is an understatement. Since that day in Matt Waite's office, Kreimer has built an impressive career in journalism technology. Kreimer was the first fellow hired by BuzzFeed, an internet media company, and has since moved on to working with LAUNCH and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a project in Australia to raise awareness for public health using virtual reality and 360 video.

What sets Kreimer apart though isn't his knowledge on the subject but his view of working with these technologies. 

“I would say that you should treat your work like an artist treats their work…. What I say is try not to just pay attention to what everyone else is doing. Do something more creative. Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing with the medium. Push it to its limits and explore those limits.”

Overall, Kreimer believes much of his success comes from the professors in the CoJMC who helped him along the way.

“The trick I figured out working on my bachelor’s degree is that the classes are the entry point to talking to your professors,” Kreimer said. “You learn more when you engage with the professors you are learning from. Talk to them outside of class. Learn what they are doing. The professors I have learned the most from have inspired me in my career.”

Waite is proud of the success Kreimer has found because he knew from the beginning Kreimer was different.

“I’m glad he’s getting to do what he wants to do,” Waite said. “From the day that I met him he had a different path than everyone else…. He has an insane appetite for seeing and doing things in other places that he’s never done before and I’m just glad that drones and technology have put him in a place where he can feed that addiction.”

Kreimer recently spoke at the MobileMe&You2 conference in Chicago, and is now set to travel to Norway and India in coming months as he continues to build his portfolio of drone journalism around the world.