Friday, November 30, 2012

Public radio station in Missouri gets grant to develop drone aircraft for rural, environmental journalism

A public radio station owned by the University of Missouri has won a university grant to develop drone aircraft to gather images for journalism in rural areas.

Scott Pham, content director of KBIA in Columbia, won $25,000 from the university's Information Technology Committee, which he and the station "will use to fund research for the construction and modification" of drones, Dylan Byers of Politico reports.

"Because current regulations require drones to stay below 400 feet and away from populated areas, our area of focus will be on rural and environmental stories," Pham told Byers. "We plan to fly only on public lands or in areas where we have explicit permission from the landowners. The result will be a collection of web and radio stories that take advantage of a drone’s ability to gain perspectives and information not easily obtained on the ground."

Pham added, "We believe that by getting journalists involved with drones early on, we’re not only giving our industry a leg up, but we might influence the development of the technology too. Journalism is just one application. I think we’ll be surprised at how many different industries can use these things."

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