WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Drones Not Yet Ready for Take-off from Newsrooms

Feb 24, 2015

The FAA is now accepting public comments on its proposed regulations for the commercial use of drones.  Interest in the regulation is high among news organizations because drones are considered a potential new tool for reporters. However, it could be a year or more before the regulations are implemented and drones can be used for gathering news.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said many journalists appear to be happy with the proposed rules.  Those who want to operate a drone will have to take a test but they won’t be required to get a pilot’s license as some reporters feared. 

Abby Wendle thinks reporters will be able to do some fascinating work by using drones. She also said some corporations might fear journalists will use drones to expose their wrongdoing so there could be some pushback.

Crighton said privacy rights often come up when new technology is introduced. She said one of the FAA’s proposals would prohibit the flying of a drone over anyone who’s not involved with the flight.

Rich Egger thinks that would limit the ability of journalists to report some stories, such as last year’s rioting in Ferguson, MO.  He said it would safer to fly a drone overheard rather than send a crew into the neighborhoods to report on what’s happening.  But Wendle believes drones could remain on the perimeter and still provide useful information for reporters and the public.