It's A Bird... It's a Plane... It's CNN?
CNN may soon change the way we get news footage now that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement drones, officially called Unmaned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), into news-gathering practices.
This agreement will incorporate current research conducted collaboratively with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The three organizations have begun collecting data and the FAA will use this to design standards for the safe use of UAVs in newsgathering.
At this point there are no dates given for when drone footage may start appearing on CNN. The project with the cooperation between CNN and GTRI began in June of last year after the FAA grounded newsgathering drones belonging to the journalism schools at the University of Missouri and University of Nebraska in 2013. There was a court case that involved major media outlets about whether these types of groundings violated first amendment rights. CNN is in a position now to expedite and influence the eventual allowance of these devices in newsgathering as the research continues.
The FAA also recently ruled that a journalist reporting on a car accident in Connecticut was considered safe and legal operation. Had the journalist been considered a commercial interest it is likely he would have been required to have special certification and a license. At the time of the incident the journalist, Pedro Rivera, was asked by police to land his drone and leave the scene of the crash. This story was reported on the website of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists who, I am sure, are very optimistic about the future of drone journalism.
Source: CNN Press Release