How Drones are Transforming News and Media
News Media: The media and the press are sometimes referred to in our country as the “fourth estate” or “fourth power,” an expression that emphasizes that in America, information is unfiltered and that journalists provide the public it serves, an important check on the country’s three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. It also implies the strong hand that the media often plays in presidential and other elections, and it also feeds the idea of the press as the fourth branch of government.
In addition, the press also helps people stay updated with the news and issues of the day, which the electorate needs to be able to make informed decisions about events that may impact them and make wise decisions about their elected representatives (e.g. voting).
While we citizens are often critical of the press because we feel the news media isn’t unfiltered, but filtered by their opinions. Realistically, that is partly true since they are human beings with thoughts and therefore opinions, but that is also true of the citizens who are critical of the press. Neither are free from some form of prejudice. As someone put it, “If you think democracy is far from perfect, which it is, try communism or fascism.” In other words, our democratic, Constitutional Republic does work, though imperfectly, and part of the reason is a free press. For all its faults, the alternative is much worse.
Drones More Prominent in Media
In the last four years we have witnessed the transformation of the media with drones playing a more prominent role, and there is no reason not to think that this will only increase in the coming years.
The media now has more options in covering news and stories. No newspaper has profited more from the emergence of drones in the coverage of media than The New York Times and the same is true for CNN in their TV coverage. This is true on both the national and international fronts. Both of these media companies have used drones in reporting news in Ferguson, Mississippi, on August 10, 2014, during the heated demonstrations. In fact, the local government tried to impose a “no-fly-zone” to prevent media from aerial coverage, which failed as news reporters used every tool available in reporting this tragic and shameful tragedy.
Media has not been shy in capitalizing on this relatively new technology!
Technology has made the impossible possible, with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) providing assistance to reporters, without which some of what has happened, would not have been possible.
Drones have made it possible to show the tragic Syrian conflict. Because drones were available, reporters were able to cover hard-to-reach areas that showed in stark colors, human suffering, the incredible cruelty and cold-blooded acts of “human” beings.
Technological advances have brought rapid change to media, which has spurred a shift to real-time, digital platforms and birthed numerous new tools that are now available to journalists who can now use them to reach audiences around the world. Among the tools is drones, these flying machines that have the power to provide a bird’s-eye-view of events as they happen in real-time. As news breaks, even in very hazardous situations, present-day reporters are often able to cover the hard-to-reach places in real-time.
News doesn’t get any fresher than that!