Sunday, March 04, 2012

The buzz on drone journalism

My student Shawn Pillai shares a link to a reblogged Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times editorial about airborne surveillance drones, coming soon to airspace near you:
Legislation just signed by President Obama directs the Federal Aviation Administration to open the skies to remotely controlled drones within the next three years. It will begin in 90 days with police and first responders ...
Shawn calls this "scary," and he's right. Keep in mind, however, that not only police agencies are planning to deploy drones. Case in point: the four-month-old Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lab founder Matt Waite -- who declares, "Drones are an ideal platform for journalism" -- demonstrated one of his drones to an exhilarated (and jittery) crowd at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference in St. Louis in February. Here's John Keefe's video of the takeoff and landing.

In Urbana, Ill., meanwhile, Matthew Schroyer has founded the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. Here's Schroyer's overview of the topic.

Maybe Frostburg State faculty in journalism, computer science and engineering should get together to talk about this.


Matthew Schroyer said...

Thank you for the mention, Andy. As you rightly point out, this technology can be scary in terms of privacy and security, but there's also great potential to expand public knowledge.

That's one of the reasons for founding the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. The hope is that the organization will provide a space where journalists who pursuing drones for reporting and investigations will come together and arrive at an understanding of what the ethical use for this technology is.

There's no guarantee that this technology won't be abused for selfish gain, but there's never been such a guarantee for any invention. Fortunately we do have the ability to develop the ethical framework while we develop the technology.

Thanks, J. said...

Lol. Journalists... can be trusted to do what? They're a joke of a profession, supporting corporate and state power, not challenging anything, really. They'll use drones to snoop on celebrities and anybody that they is linked to a "scandal" or that they chose to scandalize. Showbiz, scandals, ratings chasing clowns with spy equipment!