Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR NEWS REPORTING 22 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2017 Photos courtesy of CNN. R eporters are always looking for just the right picture, that perfect bit of film, to illuminate the size and scope of a story and captivate their audiences. So it only makes sense that news organizations—including ma- jor players like CNN, Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG), BBC News, and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC)—are increasingly turning to un- manned aerial systems (UAS) to capture video for their broadcasts. They're able to shoot im- ages from perspectives not possible before, of- ten leading to visually stunning packages. "If you need to put something in context in a landscape, if you're covering something that has a large spatial extent where describing it is diffi- cult or photography from the ground is difficult, a drone is the machine for you," said Matthew Waite, professor of practice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Drone Journalism Lab. "Even if you're getting just 100 feet in the air, it can change your perspective on a news event." To help ensure reporters are well versed in how to safely, ethically and legally use this new tool, journalism schools are starting to of- fer programs that focus on drone journalism, while organizations like the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the Poynter Institute and Google News Lab are partnering to provide training as well. Even some of the Federal Aviation Administration's test sites are getting into the mix, with Virginia Tech offering training to a number of top news organizations over the last few years, including SBG. Drones are proving to be valuable newsgather- ing tools, and it's not farfetched to expect them to someday become standard equipment for cam- era crews. And while they'll never completely re- place helicopters—the perspectives they capture are just too different—UAS do provide more inti- mate, compelling views at a fraction of the price. Of course, just like with any other industry looking to implement drones commercially, the benefits don't come without challenges. Journalists can't simply buy a drone at a big- box store and expect to use it out in the field the next day. Newsrooms must invest time in policies and training, in becoming familiar with the regulations and even in educating the local community about their intentions before planning that first f light. But once news orga- nizations put in the time, they'll find they have a tool that helps them do storytelling differ- ently, and that might eventually open up new possibilities in investigative journalism and enable them to serve as even better watchdogs. Newsroom Applications Drones can be deployed to help tell a variety of stories, and enable journalists to capture vid- eo in areas they can't reach on foot or by car. Shooting video from a drone after a f lood, for example, shows the audience exactly how wide- spread the damage really is, said Jeff Rose, Chief UAS Pilot for SBG. They can see the washed out roads and the devastation, and understand it isn't safe to try to drive across town. Journalists spend a lot of time thinking about how they can tell stories in new, compelling ways, which is why many are implementing drones into their coverage. Unmanned aircraft can capture images that convey the scope of major events, such as extreme flooding, and that give more intimate insights into a story. As their experience grows, drone-savvy reporters are finding more ways to use these tools, including for broader news gathering and even watchdog reporting. by Renee Knight NEWS FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE

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