SPJ Florida believes drone journalism needs less talking and more soaring.
The two-time chapter of the year has just bought a cutting-edge Phantom 3 drone. Wanna borrow it?
If you’re a journalist living in the Sunshine State, you can add to your coverage with video or still footage from up to 400 feet.
Yes, the rules about drone journalism are ever-changing, and you’ll have to assess your own willingness for risk. But there are ways to do drone journalism right now that shouldn’t get you in trouble – and if it does, SPJ Florida has a legal defense fund available to help you.
Drones have already been used by major news outlets. BBC News filmed a protest in Thailand, while 60 Minutes shot footage of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Tuscany.
In this country, the FAA makes it more difficult, but possibilities include:
- B roll. For all kinds of B roll for broadcast and online videos. (Check out the drone camera specs.)
- Events. Coverage of such as marathons, festivals, and concerts (with permission from organizers).
- Environmental footage. For coverage of droughts, beach erosion, or the the aftermath of wildfires, floods, or storms.
Got other ideas? We’re all ears.
The SPJ Loan-A-Drone program is simple…
- Do you live in South Florida? If so, drone director Brandon Ballenger will bring the drone to you – for free.
- Do you live elsewhere in Florida? Ballenger brings you the drone, but you pay for his gas and a night in a hotel room.
- How DIY are you? Ballenger can operate the drone for you, or he can train you to do it.
- What’s the goal here? If you’re a small media outlet or individual, SPJ Florida wants to offer you tech only the big boys can afford. If you’re a large media outlet, you can try it before you buy it.
Ballenger has been trained on drone flying and has designed his own training program especially adapted for journalists – with just the stuff you need to know, and none of the stuff you don’t.
Before the drone goes out the door, we’ll explain the current rules – which are mushy because they’re still being written by the federal government, which isn’t known for its clarity and alacrity. You’ll assume liability for whatever footage gets shot.
That said, if you get in any trouble – and everyone says it seems unlikely the FAA is going to come after you – SPJ Florida will open its Legal Defense Fund and raise other funds for you. We’ll even help you find an attorney.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.