Unmanned technologies, journalism and privacy concerns on NPR affiliate


If last week's FAA "online public engagement" session was any indication, you can never quite tell what people are going to say about unmanned aircraft and drones.

Obviously there are major concerns, some of them justified, about unmanned aircraft and privacy. The answer is not to hide from these questions, or avoid interviews.

Many journalists know the quote by U.S..Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandies that goes "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." An equal number of journalists use that quote as a guiding principle for their work. In that spirit, journalists looking to deploy "drones" in reporting should engage the public at every opportunity and give them a proper introduction to the technology.

Thursday, April 4, I was joined by Chris Anderson of 3DRobotics (a company which provides aerial robotics components, some of which I use for drone journalism and STEM education), and Nancy Cooke, Science Director of the Cognitive Engineering Research Institute in Mesa, Arizona, for a call-in radio program about unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on the NPR affiliate WILL.

We covered a wide range of topics, from the basics of "what is a drone?," to the many applications for UAS, including STEM education, cargo transport, and journalism. Most of the questions from our callers involved privacy, so a lot of discussion happened around laws and regulations.

WILL's website includes an MP3 of that radio program, along with a video interview that producer Lindsey Moon put together. The video includes an introduction to the AR.Drone 2.0 quadcopter, which I flew around WILL studios to demonstrate how it hovers and records video.

Originally posted in a slightly different version on sUASNews.com.


Posted on April 13, 2013 .