By Paul Bedard | Washington Examiner
Drone journalism is coming to a newspaper and TV station near you within 60 days.
New Federal Aviation Administration rules on the flying devices opens the door to newsrooms using drones to cover events, peer into buildings and capture images like never before, according to the founder of the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska.
We have already seen amateur drone journalism on YouTube, and many readers are probably familiar with the truly amazing camera shots that drones enable. But we are about to see an astounding increase in quality in August because the government is finally opening the door for professional journalists. Of course this will necessarily raise privacy concerns. On balance, we hope the journalistic integrity ingrained in some news organizations will lead the way for others. Abuses will exist. But the only effective way to regulate technology is to first set it free and observe how it is used. Our readers can rest assured that lawmakers are watching this issue — and journalists — closely. Moreover, no media outlet wants to be the next Gawker.
The newly released FAA Guidelines are an excellent first step. Next it is important that the states enact regulations that mirror the federal rules and preempt local regulation. The biggest hurdles blocking the widespread adoption of beneficial drone use are not technological. The hurdles are uncertainty and the patchwork of regulations that currently exist. Due to friendly legislative conditions, Arizona is well poised to lead the nation in this industry. If lawmakers are cooperative, we can reasonably hope to see drones operated by Amazon and Google very soon.
~ Logan Elia