Using Drones for news reporting is a new way to gather information. Due to escalating conflicts across the world, and natural disasters more prevalent, there is a need for reporters to get to the heart of the action. The only way to do so is often to get a bird’s eye view of the area. The aerial video provides a sense of scale in a disaster and a different perspective from the smartphone-shot footage of those at the scene.
It would be possible for some new agencies to hire a helicopter, but it is more advantageous to use a drone in news reporting.
The most significant benefit of the drone in news gathering is that the device’s cameras can capture images that are difficult to achieve.
The advantages of drones here are much the same as they are for many other industries that now appreciate their potential. They are faster, cheaper and safer.
News agencies that have their drone and the licensed operator can, in theory, get ahead. They can head straight to a scene and send the drone up to take footage.
On recovery, operators can send footage straight to editors or simply upload straight to websites or social media. There is great pride in being the first to break a story, and drones can offer that edge. This option is also much cheaper than the alternative of hiring the cameraman and helicopter.
The drone may not be cheap, to begin with, but it is an investment that can cut costs across the year. Then there is the safety aspect of flying a machine over a dangerous scene, like a war zone, storm-damaged area or forest fire.
It is better than risking the health and safety of reporters. There isn’t the drama of reporters “live at the scene.” The other benefits of speed, scale, and a good commentary can make up for that.
The Only Problem Comes In The Regulations For Drone Flight
The FAA is often seen as the worst enemy of drone enthusiasts. Their understandable determination to regulate drone flights and keep people safe means a series of rules to abide by. This means restrictions on the height and distance that drones can fly.
Also, they cannot leave the eye-line of operators. This can be problematic for anyone that is trying to cover a vast disaster area from a safe distance. However, news agencies are witnessing a relaxation to the rules and a little more freedom of movement.
The biggest obstacle is the case-by-case decision making on drone flights for news gathering. This cancels out any benefit of speed and accessibility. It does seem that the FAA are now choosing to be more lenient.
New rules allow the use of small drones, within reason, via operators that have passed the required test. In fact, CNN received an official waiver from the FAA allowing them to fly drones over people.
Drones Are The Future For News Coverage
There is no doubt that there is great potential for drones in media reporting. The modern world of instant access and real-time news feeds means that this tech is the best option.
With relaxed laws and further work on developing the best drones for news reporting, all the main outlets could use them. Those that struggle to get their way also have a constitutional back up plan. Many just cite the First Amendment: freedom of the press.