Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Fly-by Media: Journalists and Drones

From the Washington Times:
Here comes the fly-by media. Preliminary use of diminutive drones is under way among those who see the potential of drones in news gathering, not to mention invasive “gotcha”-style journalism. Deadline Detroit — “a homegrown media revolution” manned by former veteran journalists — has already used footage made by “Tretch5000,” an anonymous hobbyist who used a camera-mounted drone to peek inside abandoned housing and old civic buildings, producing a telling video vignette.

“There’s a part of me that finds this kind of creepy and fraught with ‘big brother is watching’ issues. While we might trust public radio journalists and academics, there were rumors earlier this week that TMZ had purchased a drone to assist in its paparazzi-style coverage of celebrities,” says Vince Duffy, chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association.

“But why wouldn’t they get one? Could websites that cover celebrities resist the urge to fly drones over celebrity weddings, outdoor red carpets, and beaches where starlets might be caught topless?” Mr. Duffy asks.

The University of Missouri has awarded a $25,000 grant to public radio station KBIA to explore drone journalism in places “reporters can’t go or reach,” while the University of Nebraska has won $50,000 from the Knight Foundation for a new Drone Journalism Lab.Mr. Duffy points out that the Federal Aviation Administration requires unmanned aircraft systems to be within the operator’s line of sight, cruise below 400 feet during daylight hours and avoid airports, among other things....MORE
Trust public radio journalists and academics? Unless you're talking Mother Teresa reincarnated and off to J school, I don't trust nobody. Here's the kind of crud attracted to this stuff:
"If you're concerned about it, maybe there's a reason we should be flying over you, right?" said Douglas McDonald, the company's director of special operations and president of a local chapter of the unmanned vehicle trade group.... 
We've probably all known the creepazoid military/law enforcement wannabe. They came out of the woodwork after 9/11 and dealing with them was just yucky. It's been a while for me but just seeing that in print reminded me of how loathsome the type is.
...Doug has more than 20 years of applied research, planning and development experience focusing on strategic development, unmanned systems, socio-economics and demography. He is a sociologist and holds an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of North Dakota. Doug’s business consulting experience includes assignments in unmanned systems, aerospace, value-added agriculture, information technology, and manufacturing....