NPPA SURVEY: Use Of Remotely Controlled Aircraft & Drones In Newsgathering

Feb 3, 2014 Advocacy

DURHAM, NC (February 3, 2014) – The National Press Photographers Association and the law firm of Holland & Knight are launching a new study on the use of remotely controlled aircraft or drones in newsgathering. Everyone with an interest in the application of this evolving technology is invited to participate in the survey.

It is expected that news organizations and individual journalists will use small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Systems for newsgathering purposes once such use is integrated into the National Air System, NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said. In an attempt to help chart the legislative landscape for such use, this survey will help provide data to be used in a technical paper to be presented at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International program Unmanned Systems 2014, which will be held in May in Orlando, FL. 

The paper will explore proposed FAA policies regarding use of drones for newsgathering purposes and how such use may be safely accomplished while also addressing privacy concerns. The data gathered from the survey will be used to guide the next steps in effectively understanding and participating in federal and state legislation and rulemaking. 

“Many people want to use these devices for newsgathering but are afraid to do so,” Osterreicher said. “How media organizations along with individual journalists seek to have the government strike an appropriate and acceptable balance between First Amendment protected newsgathering activities versus safety and privacy concerns are questions we need to answer."

NPPA has consulted Charles D. Tobin and Charles R. Naftalin, both partners at Holland & Knight, and Matt Waite, of the Drone Journalism Lab, and Fergus Pitt, of The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, who all contributed their knowledge of this rapidly evolving practice.

Please help support NPPA in this effort and take the survey online here