CNN Launches Dedicated Drone Unit

CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) will feature two full-time, dedicated drone operators
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CNN Aug. 18 announced it would launch a dedicated unmanned aerial systems (UAS) unit — or drones — that will add aerial shots and reporting for all of CNN’s networks and platforms, including Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting.

The CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR) unit will feature two dedicated, full-time UAS operators. In March 2015 CNN was the first company to use a Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone for newsgathering.

Related: Broadcasters Scramble the Drones

“CNN’s cutting-edge development of technology to enhance the way we tell stories is a part of our DNA,” said Terence Burke, senior VP of national news. “We are proud to continue the tradition with CNN AIR, and to establish a unit that will expand our technological capabilities for newsgathering.”

CNN has previously used drones for its coverage of everything from flooding in Louisiana, the water controversy in Flint, Mich., both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, primary debates, the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Ala., and the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Related: White House Unveils Drone-Boosting Plan

The announcement comes as the FAA has loosened up restrictions on drones for commercial use, making it easier for broadcasters to employ them.

In addition to launching CNN AIR, the broadcaster has previously formed a media-related research partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).

To read B&C’s report on the use of drones by broadcasters, click here.

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