parrot drone

Oct. 24 to 26, 2013
Embassy Suites, Lincoln, Neb.

Using a flying robot with a camera sounds like science fiction, but the technology exists to do this now. It isn't legal, currently, but it will be in the next few years. Once regulations are in place, journalists will be able to combine low-cost robotic aircraft with high-quality cameras to cover events as wide ranging as the aftermath of disasters to the county fair. Between now and then, though, massive changes in state law, federal aviation policy, privacy law and technology will all influence if and how journalists will be able to use this technology. Interested in the technology? Wanting to do your own research? Wondering what the future will hold? We're going to cover it all, from the gear to the law to the ethics.

The Gear

There is no one definition of a drone. What kind of gear are we talking about? And what are the capabilities?

The Future

Drones will be legal. Then what? What can journalists do with drones they can’t do now? What are the lessons the two drone journalism programs in the U.S. can offer?

The Law

Regulations are in flux daily, and rules are being developed now. What might they include? What do they include now? And what are privacy organizations saying should be included?

The Ethics

Drones make it simple to fly into someone’s backyard. The costs are so low a few hundred dollars can put a camera in the air. But what are the ethical obligations for a journalist using a drone? Just because they can do it, should they?