Recent research has examined journalistic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) use focusing primarily on legal, ethical, and regulatory implications. This article by Valerie Belair-Gagnon, of University of Minnesota, Taylor Owen, of University of British Columbia, and Avery E. Holton, of the University of Utah, explores the ethical principles that guide journalists who use UAVs and how a small network of technologists and reporters experimented with the use of UAVs before the legal, ethical, or normative guidance. Semi-structured interviews with 13 UAV early adopters were conducted.
Legal and regulatory restraints on UAVs facilitated the emergence of a new form of norm entrepreneur inside journalistic institutions, the authors write. Some reporters worked “off the clock,” or went abroad in places where it was legally possible to use the technology. These journalists seeded their organizations with the skill set and institutional capacity to engage with the use of UAVs. The findings of the research apply primarily to the US legal framework.
The article “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Journalistic Disruption: Perspectives of early professional adopters” was published online by Digital Journalism. It is available here.
Picture: Drone vs Cow by Lima Pix, licence: CC BY 2.0