WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Using Drones to Cover News

Dec 11, 2012

The panelists discuss whether media organizations should start using drones in their reporting, especially of breaking news.

Vince Duffy, Chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association, writes about drones in a recent column. He pointed out it is much cheaper to buy a drone than pay for a helicopter and pilot. The tool is already being used by some news organizations.

The Shop Talk panelists feel drones could be useful. They could record video from locations too dangerous for reporters, such a large fire or chemical spill. Drones could be useful for newspaper and radio station websites as well as for TV stations. The video quality is quite good.

But the panelists caution news organizations must still verify breaking news before reporting it. WGN-TV in Chicago recently used its helicopter to show footage of what appeared to be a plane crash on a city street, only to learn after a few minutes the “downed plane” was being used by a TV show filming in Chicago. You can see some of that video here.