Proposed FAA rules for the use of drones are expected this year, and ethical guidelines will soon follow. At this point, journalists are not allowed to use drones for commercial purposes, which the FAA made clear earlier this week. But when commercial use is allowed, how will newsrooms use drones?
Matt Waite, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, has been studying the possible use of drones by newsrooms for more than two years, and advocates that journalists can be early adopters of the technology. In a recent web post, he detailed some of the concerns journalists should consider when coming up with guidelines.
Among them, he wonders when newsrooms gather images from drones, "Are we on solid legal ground publishing this? Are we on solid ethical grounds? Are we going to needlessly harm someone by publishing? Is our conduct going to enrage our audience?"
RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender recently appeared on a radio podcast for InstantRiverside.com in California, to discuss the issue. He said as new technology continues to evolve, journalists can look to the ethical guidelines we use for current forms of technology, such as helicopters or hidden cameras, to develop new rules.
Has your newsroom experimented with drones? If the FAA approves commercial drone use, higher-altitude flights and remote control beyond line-of-sight, would you consider using drones for newsgathering? Would you decide not to use them due to privacy concerns? Sound off in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.
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