Local Station Groups Helping Test Drones for News Gathering

By Kevin Eck 

Virgina Tech is working with ten news organizations as part of a coalition safety testing drones in news gathering.

The AP reports the the coalition and Virginia Tech will conduct controlled tests of real-life situations with small drones used to gather news.

The coalition participating in the testing is comprised of the following media companies: Advance Publications, Inc.; A.H. Belo Corp.; The Associated Press; Gannett Co., Inc.; Getty Images (US), Inc.; NBCUniversal; The New York Times Company; The E.W. Scripps Company; Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.; and The Washington Post.

News coalition members welcome this partnership as an opportunity to help develop procedures to safely incorporate UAS into daily journalism.

“The AP is excited to join with these other leading media companies in exploring the safe and responsible use of drone technology for newsgathering purposes that further our understanding of current events,” AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said.

Rose Mooney, Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Mid Atlantic Aviation Partnership, headquartered at the university’s Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science, said: “Virginia Tech sees this collaboration as a key to groundbreaking research to use UAS for the news and broadcasting industry on a routine basis. UAS can provide this industry a safe, efficient, timely and affordable way to gather and disseminate information and keep journalists out of harm’s way. We are excited to be partnered with the consortium and the FAA to further UAS integration into the National Airspace System.”

The coalition has been working since mid-2014 through the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP, to develop the testing protocols with Virginia Tech.