Despite highly-restrictive regulations, recent innovations point to a future where drones can provide the images and data to make "immersion journalism" possible. However, drone expertise will become less of a specialty, and more of an integral part of the digital journalist's toolbox.
In a place where news crews had been risking equipment and lives attempting to cover floods, Dickens Olewe's African skyCAM deployed drones to reduce the risk to reporters. Despite Olewe's progress in the field, on January 15, the Kenyan government instituted a general ban on private drone use.
Many examples of humanitarian drone use, along with lessons gained from those experiences, are going to be explored during a conference hosted by the New America Foundation.
While acknowledging the drone is an important tool for journalism, members of Parliament in the United Kingdom stress the need for an open dialogue with the public on the pros and cons of media drones.
Flights beyond visual range still unresolved in US, PSDJ urged rulemaking committee to reccommend sensible regulations
Under the FAA's proposed rules, all small drone flights must be in visual range of the operator. The PSDJ recently presented an FAA committee with recommendations that would allow journalists to fly with greater range.
No private pilot licenses, no aircraft certifications, no medical exams. That's the bottom line from the proposed rules for small unmanned aircraft systems.
While satellite imagery is few and far between, drone-gathered maps and digital models of the Donetsk International Airport provide additional insight into the devastation following battles in eastern Ukraine.
A FOIA request revealed that a drone journalist covering a fatal car accident in Hartford was neither flying recklessly, nor operating without FAA authorization. The journalist was fired from his job after police contacted his place of employment.
Independent operators, researchers lead drone journalism innovation, but regulations and media environment present challenge
Researchers note that regulatory progress in drone journalism is "resting largely on the continued push among a relatively few journalists and private citizens willing to risk the ire of the FAA to gather and share the news."
If you want to fly in the UK for commercial purposes, you'll need to pass a CAA-certified ground school. A UK-based aerial photography company details the process.