FAA says drone journalism ‘not allowed’

BY newsdesk  January 6, 2014 at 7:01 PM EDT

When the Spokesman-Review released a video of the annual “Polar Bear Plunge” on Jan. 1, it wasn’t the daredevils who plunged into frigid waters that got everyone’s attention. All attention was gazed on the camera itself, which was filmed with the use of a drone.

When former Spokesman-Review developer Mike Tigas tweeted the story, PBS NewsHour’s Frank Bi questioned the legality of using a drone to shoot the video.

Poynter followed the debate that ensued, which seemingly ended when Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley said the use of drone recording for journalism fell into a “gray area.”

Not so, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Monday, Poynter reported that FAA spokesperson Les Dorr said “there is no gray area” when it comes to drone journalism.

“If you’re using it for any sort of commercial purposes, including journalism, that’s not allowed.”

Though the FAA has issued several orders to halt the use and operation of unmanned aircraft systems, there is no federal legislation in place that legally bans drone journalism.

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H/T Colleen Shalby