Hello, Drone Journalism
In late November I posted about a Polish activist who built a drone, jerry-rigged it with cameras and filmed police actions against protestors in Warsaw.
The hypothetical was how new, and seemingly far-flung technologies might change the face of journalism and citizen reporting. We’re now used to a thousand photos and videos from the street. A bird’s eye view, not so much.
But the hypothetical is becoming less so. Over at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications they’ve launched a lab to study the possibilities and ramifications of “Drone Journalism”.
Via the Drone Journalism Lab (they’re posting updates on Tumblr.)
In the lab, students and faculty will build drone platforms, use them in the field and research the ethical, legal and regulatory issues involved in using pilotless aircraft to do journalism.
Journalists are increasingly faced with two problems: a growing appetite for unique online video in an environment of decreased budgets; and restricted or obstructed access to stories ranging from disaster coverage to Occupy Wall Street protests. The technology behind autonomous and remotely piloted vehicles is rapidly moving from military applications to the point where private citizens can own and operate their own drone. At the same time, high definition and 3D video cameras are getting smaller, cheaper and lighter. Paired with global position devices, they make ideal additions to an airborne platform.
In short, drones are an ideal platform for journalism.
Interested in more? NPR’s On the Media interviewed Matt Waite, the Lab’s founder, late last week.
Image: Test flying ArduCopter Hexa with GoPro camera via DIY Drones.