University programs now funding drone-based journalism

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: drones, journalism, surveillance

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) "Drone journalism?" That could become part of the media lexicon in the next few years if a University of Nebraska program, um, takes off. But will it be ethical? Students there are examining that question, among others, such as how practical using drones to cover - or create - stories really is.

According to The Blaze, the university's College of Journalism and Mass Communications in Lincoln recently launched what it is calling the Drone Journalism Lab, a project designed to test the effectiveness and practicality of using drones to cover stories.

"Journalism is evolving rapidly, and journalism education must evolve with it, teaching new tools and storytelling strategies while remaining true to the core principles and ethics of journalism," says a description of the program on the lab's website. Launched by Prof. Matt Waite, a principal developer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact, a publication of the St. Petersburg Times newspaper, "to explore how drones could be used for reporting," the project features both students and faculty who "build drone platforms, use them in the field and research the ethical, legal and regulatory issues involved in using pilotless aircraft to do journalism."

Experts have noted that, as the use of drones increases within the military, federal and civilian law enforcement agencies, they were bound to have uses for other entities as well.

But the media?

Why not? Waite and his students respond.

'Drones are an ideal platform for journalism'

"Journalists are increasingly faced with two problems: a growing appetite for unique online video in an environment of decreased budgets; and restricted or obstructed access to stories ranging from disaster coverage to Occupy Wall Street protests," says the project description. "The technology behind autonomous and remotely piloted vehicles is rapidly moving from military applications to the point where private citizens can own and operate their own drone. At the same time, high definition and 3D video cameras are getting smaller, cheaper and lighter. Paired with global position devices, they make ideal additions to an airborne platform."

"In short," the school says, "drones are an ideal platform for journalism."

Operating with grant money, the lab recently produced its first drone-assisted story, which dealt with Nebraska's lingering drought conditions. In order to help get the story, the journalism department's drone program partnered with the university's Nebraska Intelligence MoBile Unmanned Systems (NIMBUS) Lab, which in turn provided students with a $25,000 drone and a pilot to fly it.

In an interview with the Silicone Prairie News, Waite said the drone lab has ordered its own equipment as well.

"It was fun getting out there and doing actual journalism instead of talking about it," he told the paper. "We learned a lot doing it, and we've still got a lot to learn. But I think we've proven the concept, if it even needed further proving."

The paper said the concept was straightforward and simple. Drones are going to be used to gather news and other public data. The concept will be further aided by the fact that, by 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration will be issuing new rules permitting wider use of drones. For now; however, any drones flown by the school have to remain under the federally mandated limit of 400 feet.

Will drone journalism test ethical boundaries to get a story?

Though Waite said the use of a drone to help produce the flood story was just a first step, "now comes the harder parts of seeing how far the concept can go, and what boundaries there needs to be," he added.

Therein lies the rub, as they say. Just what is and isn't within boundaries, all to get a story?

For his project, Waite set these guidelines:

-- The drone would have to fly away from people and houses

-- It would have to fly under 400 feet

-- It would have to be within sight of faculty and students at all times

-- The footage shot by the drone would have to be interesting and newsworthy

"Drought, and a nearly empty river, fit our requirements," Waite said. "We could fly in rural areas, all within FAA restrictions, and the video would be interesting."

Okay, so Waite has set what appear to be very ethical standards for drone usage. But will others?

And there are more questions needing answers: What big stories are waiting to be broken using drone journalism? Whose rights will be trampled to get those stories? Will Paparazzi make ethical use of drone journalism?


Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.