Turning inner space into outer space

December 6, 2013

Drones could fly to the rescue for gathering news

After seeing the promo video of Amazon using a drone to make a delivery, I thought about how a device like that could come in handy for news organizations.

Imagine, for example, there is a terrible fatal accident in the middle of a bridge during rush hour traffic. There’s no way you can get anywhere near it. A helicopter might work if you’re lucky enough to have one, but you still can’t get very close to the action.

Enter the drone reporter. Just punch in the GPS co-ordinates and send it on its way. When it gets close, use a remote control for exact positioning and take pictures. You might even be able to poke a microphone out and interview witnesses.

Worried about bumping into something? Our ideal drone would come with equipment that senses objects nearby and gives them a wide berth.

As it turns out the newly revived American Journalism Review published an article on this topic yesterday. They spoke with University of Nebraska professor Matt Waite.

There’s huge potential for drones to enhance the level of journalism produced in this country, including the ability to collect data during severe weather situations, Waite said in a separate interview with AJR.

Drone reporters could wind up in plenty of places were human reporters fear to tread. To learn more, be sure to check out the Drone Journalism Lab. (Yes, there really is such a thing.)

Image above: A BBC hexacopter.