Michael McKisson

Journalism Educator
Michael J McKisson

Michael J McKisson

Associate Professor of Practice, University of Arizona

 Welcome to my website! I am an award winning multimedia journalist and award winning journalism instructor at the University of Arizona. I teach in person and online classes in digital storytelling, drone journalism, news startups, product development, mobile applications as well as foundational journalism courses. I am a Part 107 FAA licensed drone pilot, which allows me work with students to use drones in their reporting. I advise the school’s Online News Association student group and am working on my own project #EveryStreetTucson, a multimedia project in which I plan to bike on all 2,800 miles of Tucson streets documenting it through mapping, street photography and aerial images. I  founded 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. My work had appeared in PBS Newhour, AZPM, the local PBS affiliate, AZ Luminaria and more. My drone video has been used in stories that have won regional Emmy’s and a national Murrow award.   I hold has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Arizona. 

Drone Journalism

I earned my sUAV pilot’s license from the FAA in September 2016. In addition to teaching students the rules, regulations and best practices 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. 

He has helped dozens of students earn their own pilots’s license allowing them to use drones in their own work. 

If you need drone video or images, please contact me to discuss. 



I’m a long-time bicyclist and an event longer-time Tucsonan. I always prefer getting where I am going on two wheels as opposed to four. Like most bicyclists I prioritize, safety, pavement quality and speed when deciding which route to take, which results in riding the same street repeatedly. 

That all changed when Erik Binggeser, better known as @truemarmalade, turned me on to Wandrer, which analyzes which streets you have and haven’t ridden based on GPS routes. It turns out despite riding my bike in Tucson for more than 12 years, I had only ridden on about 25 percent of the 2,800 miles of Tucson roads. 

Starting in January 2022, I began riding new-to-me streets in an effort to ride all 2,800 miles of roads in the city of Tucson. 

I am documenting the project using street photography, drone photos and GPS mapping. When finished, I plan to create a book of photos, interviews and demographics. 

You can read more and see a selection of photos on BicycleTucson.com.  


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.