The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications is starting a lab to educate students on what it sees as one of the new frontiers for newsgathering and reporting: drone journalism. The lab will look at the ethical, legal, and privacy concerns surrounding the collection of video and photographs from small, unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as provide hands-on experience: students will be building their own drone platforms to collect data in the field. The lab is already expecting its first vehicle for testing.
Originally used in military operations, we've increasingly seen the adoption of camera-equipped aircraft by regular citizens as prices have come down. A CNN reporter used an iPad-controlled device this past May to survey tornado damage in Alabama, and footage of protests in Poland was recently recorded with a remote control helicopter. With the Federal Aviation Administration expected to propose a new set of rules in January that will open up US skies to the broader use of unmanned aircraft, it's not a trend we expect to slow anytime soon.