In recent years, there has been a surge in research on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
in news production and news audience engagement. Most of this research has focused on
legal, ethical, and regulatory implications of UAVs in newsgathering, while paying less attention
to the journalists’ perspectives. To fill this gap in the academic literature, this article
explores the ethical principles that guide journalists who use UAVs, how they have worked
within these ethical principles, and how they can serve as disruptive innovators. Semistructured
interviews with 13 UAV early adopters reveal that legal and regulatory restraints on
UAVs facilitated the emergence of a new form of norm entrepreneur inside journalistic institutions.
These individuals were able to experiment on the fringes of acceptable practice. In so
doing, they seeded their organizations with the skill set and institutional capacity to engage
constructively with the use of UAVs once constraints were lifted.
Belair-Gagnon, Valerie; Holton, Avery; Owen, Taylor.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Journalistic Disruption.
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