The newsroom of the future will absolutely include a fleet of UAVs armed with high-definition cameras to capture live breaking news events and give a bird's-eye perspective on important stories.
After a 2015 cyclone ravaged the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, NBC News captured startling footage of the fresh wreckage with a drone. And when the BBC assembled a collection of feature stories honoring the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, it produced a remarkable aerial video shot by a soaring drone.
As of April 2015, FAA regulations still greatly restrict the use of drones by journalists, but that is expected to change later this year. For now, journalist drones are prohibited from flying over crowds of people, which prevents the aerial coverage of riots and demonstrations. Once drones have proven safe, it's not hard to imagine close coverage of car chases, protests and live sporting events with swarms of remote-controlled cameras.
Privacy will surely be an issue. As it is, there are already reports of scoop-starved celebrity photographers using drones to buzz over the backyards of Hollywood stars [source: Evans]. Congress and the courts will have to draw the line between the pursuit of truth and protecting the innocent.