Journalist Drone: A New Eye in the Sky
“Drone Journalism” is a new tool that offers opportunities to journalists young and old. Imagine, if you will, gaining a bird’s eye view of breaking news or a wider perspective on events previously unreachable to the majority of reporters. Sure, TV channels have helicopters they can send out to watch travel jams and car chases, but those choppers cost more than a blogger can afford.
At it's simplest, drone journalist uses the same tools and techniques of regular cameramen. The difference is that the camera is attached to a unmanned flying device that reaches much farther than the grounded journalist could. The quality of both vary in terms of image quality and stability, but drones continue to improve. Schools like The University of Nebraska have started their own drone programs to see exactly how well it can be perfected.
Drone journalism is developing quickly, but the law hasn't kept up with it up to this point. In in 2013, the University of Nebraska had to ground its drone lab after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the Federal Aviation Agency. Only until 2016, has the FAA released new regulations – a hefty 600-plus page read. More is expected to come in the future.
Given that the budgets are getting tighter in newsroom, demand for drones will only increase. They offer bloggers an easy way to compete with big outlets. This same ease of use also inspires several concerns. Imagine a paparazzi floating a camera drone toward the window of dozing celebrity. With a drone, no fence is too high.
Further development could give way to whole new avenues of information though. Operators could use drones to inspect the integrity of public bridges or even attach sensors to drones to collect complex data. The potential is vast. For now, drone journalism consists of one a journalist, a camera and a drone. In the future, the term could refer to complex mobile reporting platforms. Only time will tell.