Station to Station

"Drone Journalism" Plans Flying About

11/30/2012 01:09:43 PM

The use of drones to capture aerial images is a heckuva lot cheaper, and safer, than the use of helicopters, reports RTDNA.org.

Writes RTDNA chairman Vincent Duffy:

You can go online today and buy what amounts to a toy drone and spend between $300 to $1000. You won’t be able to drop missiles on the broadcast towers of your competition, but you will be able to get amazing pictures and video you can use to supplement your news stories.

Some folks are already doing it. 

While it will be a few years before the Federal Aviation Administration issues rules for news organizations regarding drones, media outlets are already looking into the possibilities.

Scott Pham is in charge of the website for KBIA, the public radio station at the University of Missouri. He recently received a $25,000 technology grant from the school to develop and explore the journalistic uses of drones.

Pham says the drones can get visuals from places reporters can’t go or reach. For example, he says he wished he had a drone when KBIA was covered the intentional break of the Birds Point Levee in 2011 to save Cairo, Illinois from flooding, and to cover the repairs as well from the air.

“I’ve wanted a drone for some time,” Pham told me over the phone, “but it was mostly a joke until the IT program at the university expressed some interest.” 

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