Tinker, tailor, soldier, thief: an investigation into the role of drones in journalism

Adams, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-9175-3232, 2019. Tinker, tailor, soldier, thief: an investigation into the role of drones in journalism. Digital Journalism, 7 (5), pp. 658-677. ISSN 2167-0811

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Aerial filming is ubiquitous in contemporary media and drones have been heralded as “game-changers” in the news industry. However, very little academic research appears to have investigated the claim. This research uses a transnational multiple case study to produce a semiotic and discourse analysis which shows how drone images are being used to produce meaning and whether they present challenges to quality journalism. The article examines the content and effect of drone shots in five edited video news items, from USA, Kenya, South Africa, Syria and the Philippines. The research shows that UAVs are instrumental not only in bringing viewers closer to the story but also in distancing them. It suggests that, contrary to some predictions, the use of drones is not revolutionising newsgathering, but is presenting a number of new perspectives, some of which threaten quality journalism. Empirical data indicate that drones are used more often to provide news context than content, and that the use of aerial footage encourages style over substance. The article also demonstrates that “drone journalism” is a potentially rich field of academic study.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Digital Journalism
Creators: Adams, C.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2019
Volume: 7
Number: 5
ISSN: 2167-0811
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 16 Jan 2019 09:12
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 13:24
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/35566

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