Good New York Times round-up of recent examples and some of the policy issues presented by "drone journalism". Excerpt:
The best way to film the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, the Philippines, said Lewis Whyld, a British photographer, was from the air.
But Mr. Whyld did not want to beg for a ride on a military helicopter, taking the space of much-needed aid. So he launched a drone into the skies above the city. In addition to shots that showed the scale of the damage, broadcast by CNN recently, his drone discovered two bodies that were later recovered by the authorities, he said in an interview.
“The newspaper was for still images,” said Mr. Whyld, who builds his own drones, “but the Internet is for this.”
Mr. Whyld, and CNN, are not alone in exploring the potential of drones. The Associated Press and News Corporation have used them to show the scale of large disasters. News Corporation has also used them to shoot sports in Australia. Sophisticated nature documentaries use them to get intimate shots of wildlife. Paparazzi use them to chase celebrities in Europe, and reports suggest they have been used to pursue celebrities in the United States, too.
Journalism programs, including those at the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, have started drone journalism courses. Columbia does not teach hands-on skills, but students at Missouri have used drones over the Missouri River for a report about hydraulic fracturing and over the prairie for a story about controlled burns. But in August, the F.A.A. ordered journalism schools to stop flights unless they obtained permission from the agency.