Red tape snarls drone deployment for journalists

At first blush, journalists using drones to gather information for high-risk or investigative news stories sounds like a good idea. After all, such unmanned aircraft systems can be sent into dangerous (or geographically challenging) news situations where life and limb might be at risk. An added bonus is that drones are much cheaper to operate…

Magazine’s headline has Texans fighting mad

by JOHN JARVIS / In almost three decades as a print journalist, I never called out a fellow headline writer for something he or she crafted to introduce a story. Until now. What I never did was write a headline so egregiously bad that readers threatened to yank their subscriptions over what I wrote. Someone at Texas Monthly Magazine did, however.

With drone technology, potential pitfalls are worth the risk

Articles such as Rave Somaiya’s Jan. 15 story in the New York Times, titled “Times and Other News Organizations to Test Use of Drones,” should come as a surprise to no one who’s been paying attention to the technology behind these unmanned aerial vehicles. After all, what makes drones so appealing to journalists is that they give reporters access to the sky. That’s something that was not so readily accessible before these machines made their presence known. To get aerial shots used to require a helicopter, a hot-air balloon or an airplane, all of which usually are dependent on others to operate – and cost money to use, too. But using aerial technology take pictures of the world around us is not new at all.

Young journalists grasp meaning of First Amendment

BY JOHN JARVIS / My 26-year journalism career has led to a collection of Facebook friends who either have been, or still are, in the same line of work. Because of this, I came across a post on a friend’s Facebook page a few days ago that grabbed my attention – and the attention of some of my former co-workers, too. My friend’s post noted that the student newspaper at Oklahoma University, the Oklahoma Daily, ran an editorial Oct. 3 titled “KKK rallies shouldn’t be allowed.” The lead paragraph reads: “A Maryland-based Ku Klux Klan group planned to rally at Gettysburg National Military Park on October 5. It’s mind-boggling that KKK groups still have the audacity and will to exist in today’s society, but what’s more surprising is the fact that they were granted a special permit to hold an event there.” The editorial goes on to say that “the KKK should not be allowed to hold rallies for a number of reasons,” including the KKK’s history of hate crimes against blacks and certain religious groups.

Droning on: Unmanned aerial vehicles raise privacy concerns

BY JOHN JARVIS / Civil unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have left the realm of science fiction and are making their way into use by businessmen, law enforcement officials and newsgathering organizations in the United States. This drone use is stirring up privacy concerns at the state level, but because these drones are being operated in public, there’s little in the way of American privacy laws that prevents their use. Constitutionally, the Fourth Amendment provides the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” But is that enough in the face of this technological advancement?

Subtle but distinct differences in Pendleton shooting coverage

Before the nation heard of Hadiya Pendleton, the grim realities of Chicago’s gun violence had been largely overlooked by United States media outlets. Not anymore. The 15-year-old’s tragic shooting death in Chicago Jan. 29 highlighted the impact gangs and gun violence have had on the nation’s third-largest city. News coverage revealed that Pendleton, a high school honors student and majorette, had performed with her school’s band in the parade at President Obama’s inauguration just a week earlier. With that angle, the story immediately gained prominence over other similar incidents involving innocent teens being caught in gang members’ crosshairs.