Road Closures by Drone

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, have been making the news off an on for their use in journalism and in videography, especially in movies. Drones have the ability to capture a landscape from a wide variety of heights and are much more versatile than a jib or crane camera. Personally, I have always thought of drones in this respect, getting that money shot from low to high of a scene from the sky. They are always so beautiful and often times breath taking. An area that I don’t often think of the use of drones is in conducting journalism.

I came across a perfect example where the use of drone footage would enhance a story. It’s about the closure of a major Philadelphia road artery for much needed repairs. Currently, the news article used a capture from Google maps to show the length of the road set to be closed. Instead, drone video would not only show how busy this road is but also show the level of repairs it has needed for sometime. Actual video would generate more views to the news story as well since it would be a unique look at this stretch of road.

From a regulation standpoint, using a drone for journalism would count as commercial use and would require passing the Part 107 exam administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. However, were one to use a drone as a recreational tool to check out Lincoln Drive and how the repairs are going, they would have to keep the drone within eyesight and below 400 feet.

The potential viewers that drone video would bring could be worth the extra effort in getting certified by the FAA to use drones for journalism and thus, commercial use.

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Author: Sam Ainuddin

Television veteran and now a @NewshouseSU grad student studying media and the digital world we live in.

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