Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Mass Communication and Media Arts


Babcock, William A.


Unmanned aerial vehicles – a.k.a. drones – have left the realm of science fiction and are making their way into use by businesses, the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement officials and news organizations in the United States. Their potential as a newsgathering tool is only just now being explored – but can these machines maneuver around the ethical and legislative obstacles that threaten to block their use? This paper will look at the definition of what constitutes a drone, the legal arguments for and against their use and the status of drone legislation in the United States, the pros and cons of using these machines in news organizations, and the ethical considerations for and against their use in journalism.