A somewhat mystifying article appeared in the Associated Press today, about how the University of Missouri School of Journalism plans to seek approval from the FAA to fly drone aircraft.
Clearly this is true, but it bears some clarification. The article linked above says that the application will allow us to “resume the use of news-gathering drones”, which is technically accurate, but the issue is far more complicated than that. A Certificate of Authorization comes with it a huge set of regulations that will make “drone journalism,” as we’ve come to know it, all but impossible. Flight will occur only within a predetermined, relatively small, contiguous space. Our ability to travel and respond to events (key attributes of field reporting) will be entirely curtailed. Call it a quibble, but I’m not sure everyone knows these details.
The second thing I’d like to clarify is less quibble and more mystery. As one can see from the blog post below, all of this information is old news. Over a month old. Some news outlets ran with this story last month, and I expect that some who missed it the first time around will run the “new” one as well. I’m available for quotes (email in the sidebar) but please be aware of the timeline and context around this issue.