In advance of a Hill hearing on unmanned aircraft systems, Jeff Bartlett urges approval of their use by TV broadcasters, arguing their benefits would include “safer, more cost efficient, and better newsgathering which would strengthen and enhance our role as a lifeline in the communities we serve.”
Jeff Bartlett, GM of Hearst’s ABC affiliate WMUR Manchester, N.H. (Boston), wants a congressional group studying drones, to approve such unmanned aircraft systems by news organizations, saying the technology offers “significant potential benefits” for broadcast news efforts for his station “and others across the country.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is presiding over a hearing today of the House subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security that will examine the potential uses and benefits of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), the Federal Aviation Administration’s progress on safe integration of UAS in the National Airspace System and privacy issues associated with this emerging technology.
Bartlett wrote a letter to Ayotte advocating allowing drone use for newsgathering, arguing that: “Allowing broadcast use of UAS would give us safer, more cost efficient, and better newsgathering which would strengthen and enhance our role as a lifeline in the communities we serve. The ability of UAS to cover dangerous, remote and expansive areas beyond where traditional photographers can easily reach would allow broadcast journalists to overcome logistical hurdles and capture scenes that previously would have put their lives in danger.
“In addition, the use of UAS is much less expensive compared to traditional aerial footage shot from helicopters, helping to support an overall expansion of newsgathering.
“Unfortunately, the FAA’s current rules and proposed ban on flight over people, requirement of visual line of sight, and restriction on nighttime flying, effectively prohibit broadcasters from using UAS for newsgathering. With appropriate safety and privacy guidelines, Congress and the FAA should permit the use of UAS for newsgathering for broadcasters like WMUR. The results would be safer, improved and expanded news coverage to the communities we serve,” Bartlett concluded.