Aerial video marketplace Skytango’s latest post focuses on drone journalism — and I was honored to be included in it!
Their post, titled “Opportunities and challenges in drone journalism” features views from 14 “industry experts,” including Matthew Schroyer, founder of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists, Ben Kreimer, the beta fellow for BuzzFeed’s Open Lab Fellowship and Mickey Osterreicher, the General Counsel for the National Press Photographers’ Association.
Here’s what I told them:
Top 3 opportunities for drones in journalism:
The biggest opportunity is cost savings. It’s not uncommon to see a news helicopter photographing something like a fire or highway traffic from the air, but that can cost thousands of dollars per hour. A drone can get that same shot for a one-time fee of about a thousand dollars. Newsrooms are already tight on money, so this could be a huge money-saver. With that cost savings comes the ability to cover stories we wouldn’t cover otherwise because it would just be too difficult. In the future, we’ll see more parades, protests, natural disasters, etc. all documented via drone.
Top 3 challenges of drones in journalism:
The biggest challenges for journalism are no different than any other commercial drone use case. Safety is of upmost importance, and while the technology has improved so much even in the past two years to make these safe to fly, I still am not 100% confident a drone could safely fly over a protest scene 100% of the time. There is also the regulation aspect, which (hopefully) will be resolved this year. The 333 exemption process has been a huge hindrance to a lot of people who don’t have a pilot’s license.
The area with the most potential:
Right now the majority of drone journalism we’re seeing is of unpopulated areas due to safety concerns. There have been cool videos of drones covering flood zones, showing bridges over water or depicting farmland. They are largely environmental focused stories, which is great – but in the future, we’ll see more protests and events involving people being covered.