Known as CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN Air), the news network’s new initiative will put newsgathering drones in the skies.
CNN promises it will always have two operators flying the drones, an essential safety measure. The company was selected by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in 2015 as one of three industry “Pathfinders” that would pursue safe practices of what is sometimes called “dronalism.” “CNN has shared data and research that has helped formulate a framework for various types of [drones] to be safely integrated into the national air space and continues to work to expand the safe and legal operation of UAS in newsgathering,” the network said in a release.
Already, CNN has used drones to enhance its journalism in a number of cases, including the Louisiana floods, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the recent political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and the 50th anniversary of Selma, Alabama’s civil rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Drones can be a powerful newsgathering tool, assuming they’re flown safely. Authorities, of course, have raised concerns about amateurs using flying cameras in situations like fires, where they can impede and imperil emergency services workers.