Federal officials restrict drone use by UNL journalism school - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Federal officials restrict drone use of Midwest journalism schools

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By: Lauren Fabrizi

The FAA is placing restrictions on the use of drones at two Midwest journalism schools. UNL and the University of Missouri will now have to get a permit to test the flying cameras.

UNL journalism professor Matt Waite has been testing out these drones. He said journalists have been using aircrafts for years to capture aerial footage, but drones would bring the cost way down.

"Make it possible for a lot of news organizations to get in the air, to allow a reporter to get perspective on a news event that they normally wouldn't have," Waite said.

Waite said he's been flying these drones outside, following the rules of hobbyists, to determine what type of news stories can be done in the future. But he didn't realize he would need a permit to do so, as if he were a police department or other type of state institution.

"Because I am an employee of the university, I have to get the same permits that other public agencies have to get, or I have to stop," Waite said.

Waite said only state institutions can apply for these permits. Individuals or private companies that have a commercial interest or want to fly them for research purposes cannot. So Waite said he feels it is his obligation to inform people across the nation of his findings.

"We want to share that information as far and wide as we can," Waite said. "And one of the ways we can do that is have a conference."

The Drone Journalism Conference will be held from Oct. 24 through the 26 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. If you would like to register, click here.


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