FAA's missed deadline on drone regulations puts journalists in limbo

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Author: John Jarvis
Date: Fall 2015
From: Gateway Journalism Review(Vol. 45, Issue 339)
Publisher: SJR St. Louis Journalism Review
Document Type: Article
Length: 974 words
Lexile Measure: 1500L

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The headline on the story written by Keith Wagstaff and posted online Oct. 1 at the website www.nbcnews.com couldn't be any clearer: "FAA Misses Deadline for Creating Drone Regulations."

With all the intricacies of the drone debate swirling through the media, this should come as no surprise to anyone who's followed this issue. But the news poses a serious obstacle for student journalists and media professionals who want to incorporate this new technology into modern newsgathering.

In 2012, Congress issued an edict to the Federal Aviation Administration to incorporate unmanned aircraft systems, also known by the acronym UAS, into the national airspace. The FAA had a deadline of Sept. 30, 2015 to get that done, but that deadline has flown past with no definite date to replace it.

On the day of the original FAA deadline, a coalition of 29 different organizations sent a letter to Michael Huerta, the FAA's administrator, urging the agency "to use all available means to finalize the small UAS rules immediately without any further delays and move ahead with the nest regulatory steps on the path for integrating all UAS into the NAS (National Airspace System)."

Wagstaff noted in his story that an unnamed FAA spokesman told NBC News "our main, overriding goal is safety," and that final rules for drone operators should be in place by "late next spring."

In a related development, the FAA convened a four-day "UAS Registration Task Force" beginning Nov. 3 to focus...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A439635350