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Journalism Could Be a Hot New Market for Drones

Jamie Carracher, Sr. Manager, Web Content, Consumer Technology Association
Could the next hot use of drones be journalism?

Drones survey the scene in Kiev, Ukraine last week. 

Drones have already been tapped by organizations as diverse as the military, law enforcement, universities and even online retailers. Could the next hot use be journalism?

Fast Company’s Co.EXIST blog recently shared how a drone was used by a newspaper in El Salvador to cover that country’s presidential election. Co.EXIST notes how drones have been used to cover everything from unrest to roadwork in South America.

This isn’t just a trend in the southern hemisphere. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln formed a Drone Journalism Lab in late 2011, and the Professional Society of Drone Journalists, also formed in 2011, has 123 journalist members from around the world.

Drones promise unprecedented visual access, providing journalists with a powerful new way to tell stories. But before they become commonplace, there are questions to be answered. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of drafting rules for unmanned aircraft and has taken action due to safety concerns against some journalists, especially when drones are used in open, public spaces. This has caused some news organizations, like the University of Missouri’s drone journalism program, which created the video above, to ground its drones while they wait for clarification.
In addition to legal questions, journalists must also grapple with new ethical standards, much like they have when it comes to traditional visual mediums like video and photography. These challenges were tackled during a session late last year at the Frontline Club in London.

Do you think drones in journalism have a bright future? Have you seen amazing drone journalism videos?