New York Times, AP and more to test drone journalism in US

byAshley Nguyen
Jan 15, 2015 in Specialized Topics

Drone journalism will finally be fully — and legally — tested in the United States.

Ten U.S. news organizations will experiment with drones this year at one of the six Congress-approved test sites, Virginia Tech, according to a statement released by law firm Holland & Knight. The law firm has been working with Virginia Tech and the coalition of news agencies since mid-2014, the statement said. The organizations are:

  • Advance Publications, Inc.
  • A.H. Belo Corp.
  • The Associated Press
  • Gannett Co., Inc.
  • Getty Images (US) Inc.
  • NBCUniversal
  • The New York Times Company
  • The E.W. Scripps Company
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
  • The Washington Post

CNN also announced it would begin experimenting with drone journalism in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Georgia Tech, though the Columbia Journalism Review reports it could take awhile before CNN launches anything.

Using drones, otherwise known as small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), for journalism purposes isn't frequent in the U.S. due to the FAA's regulations, though some journalists have toyed with the tool. Tim Pool used a Parrot AR Drone to stream the Occupy Wallstreet protests in 2011.

Internationally, the news industry is no stranger to drone journalism. CBS’s “60 Minutes” used a drone to show villages around Chernobyl 30 years after the nuclear meltdown. In 2014, Kenyan digital journalist Dickens Onditi Olewe began AfricanSkyCAM, Africa’s first drone journalism team.

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via David Rodriguez Martin.