CNN’s New Aerial Reporting Unit Establishes Full-Time Drones

CNN is launching a designated unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) unit, which will have two full-time UAS operators to fully integrate aerial imagery and reporting across all CNN networks and platforms, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities.

The unit is dubbed “CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting,” or “CNN AIR.”

“CNN’s cutting-edge development of technology to enhance the way we tell stories is a part of our DNA,” comments Terence Burke, senior vice president of national news. “We are proud to continue the tradition with CNN AIR and to establish a unit that will expand our technological capabilities for newsgathering.”

Previously, CNN formed a media-related research partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and entered into a direct research agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Last year, CNN was selected by the FAA as one of the first three industry “Pathfinders” to develop safe uses of UAS in newsgathering. The company says it has since shared data and research that has helped formulate a framework for various types of UAS to be safely integrated into national airspace and continues to work to expand the safe and legal operation of UAS in newsgathering.

Led by Greg Agvent, senior director of national newsgathering technology, CNN says it has already deployed drones to cover various events: the flooding in Louisiana; the water crisis in Flint, Mich.; the Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions; CNN presidential primary debates and town halls; the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.; and Anderson Cooper’s coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

CNN Worldwide – a division of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a Time Warner company – is a portfolio of two-dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN says it reaches more individuals on television, the Web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the U.S.


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