Using Drones in Breaking News Situations in Finland: From Pilot Tests to Continuous Operations

Turo Uskali & Pasi Ikonen, Department of Language and Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä

Digital technology is constantly creating new challenges and opportunities for journalism. The main purpose of this paper is to test, how camera drones could be used in breaking news situations. First, the paper summarizes the current knowledge of ‘dronalism’ in breaking news situations (Uskali & Lauk 2018; Gynnild & Uskali 2018). Then it moves to present the methodology of drone testing. For this paper the researchers tested the use of camera drones in breaking news situations in Jyväskylä area in Spring 2018. The starting research question was: is it possible to broadcast aerial drone images and videos from breaking news situations in a Finnish city. Other questions that were tested focused on drone journalism work processes, aviation rules, ethics, and privacy. Based on the test results the paper will suggest some scenarios for the future of drone journalism in breaking news situations; especially how news media companies could build sustainable and automated drone journalism operations. The results of this paper are still preliminary. The research is part of Virjox- project (http://virjox.hti-tampere.fi/).

Keywords: Drones, drone journalism, breaking news, testing


Uskali, Turo & Lauk, Epp. 2018. Keeping Reporters Safe. The Ethics of Drone Journalism in Humanitarian Crisis. 2018. In Andersen, Robin and de Silva, Purnaka L. The Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action. Routledge: New York, 477–486.

Gynnild, Astrid & Uskali, Turo. (eds.) 2018. Responsible Drone Journalism. Routledge: New York.