Dronning On

By Wolfgang, David | The Quill, March/April 2013 | Go to article overview

Dronning On


Wolfgang, David, The Quill


UNMANNE AERIAL VEHICLES AREN'T JUST A MILITARY, INTELLIGENCE OR POLICE DEPARTMENT TOOL. DRONES ARE INCREASINGLY TESTED, STUDIED AND SCRUTINIZED FOR JOURNALISM. AN ALL SORTS OF INTERESTING LEGAL AND ]CAL QUESTIONS.

Unmanned aircraft could soon get their debut as the newest journalistic tool, raising new legal and ethical issues related to privacy and newsgathering. But as journalists start to ask questions about how to legally and ethically fly drones, the Federal Aviation Administration is already behind schedule on instituting a new regulatory system for commercial drone use.

Despite slow movement from the federal government, some non-profit journalism organizations and journalism students at a pair of universities have had the first crack at developing drones. That has meant professionalizing what some see as a whole new skill set or even a newsroom title: drone journalist. The types of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, that are finding their ways into the journalist's toolkit are typically equipped with a camera and are flown at low heights in order to gain new perspectives on a news story.

The use of drones in journalism was rather obscure until the rumor that gossip website TMZ was looking to get a drone and authorization to fly from the FAA in November 2012. The mere rumor that TMZ might be considering a drone was enough to raise ire, even though the FAA is not issuing commercial licenses. While drones have great potential to help journalists cover disasters such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, they also make it easier to keep tabs on celebrities and public figures. And if traditional news organizations like NPR member stations and newspapers get access to drones, it will ultimately mean gossip blogs and celebrity sites will also have access. And until the FAA releases new regulations as soon as 2015, it will be up to non-commercial journalists to establish professional standards.

"Whatever laws the government or the courts come up with, they will be laws that will protect TMZ and The New York Times, and there is no way of getting around that," increasing the need for journalists to self-regulate the use of drones, said Kelly McBride, a media ethicist with the Poynter Institute.

FINDING A USE IN JOURNALISM

The use of drones for journalism is still new; just two university journalism programs are testing them. And the FAA could slow down the introduction of commercial drones even more as Congress starts to question the use of domestic drones.

'This is democracy in action," said Matt Waite, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and founder of the Drone Journalism Lab. "People are concerned about this, and frankly I think they should be. I think you should be worried about your privacy from a lot of perspectives."

Because so few journalists have the opportunity to work with drones, and legislators are showing increased scrutiny, Waite and others testing the technology are using extreme caution with how they use drones.

'We have a responsibility to be very careful for a lot of reasons. I don't want to do anything that would prevent journalists in the future from using these for a useful purpose," Waite said.

Drone journalist Matthew Schroyer recognizes the need to be responsible with the devices in order to protect the next generation of journalists, but he also believes that the benefits of using drones should not be outweighed by unnecessary caution.

'You have to walk a fine line - you don't want the technology to be abused or intrusive to privacy, but at the same time journalists are trying to report on important events and inform democracy," Schroyer said. "So anything you do to inhibit a journalist's ability to report on information in the public's interest is a negative."

A WAITING GAME

Even journalism students using drones have to work under FAA regulations, and those rules end up having significant effects on the type of journalism produced. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dronning On
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.