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CNN Creates Drone Unit

ATLANTA—CNN is launching a unit dedicated to drone-based newsgathering. CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting—CNN AIR—will be a designated unmanned aerial systems unit with 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.

“CNN’s cutting-edge development of technology to enhance the way we tell stories is a part of our DNA,” said 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.”

CNN has been active in integrating this new technology into its operations. It joined a media-related research partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and entered into a direct research agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2015, CNN was selected by the FAA as one of the first three industry “Pathfinders” to develop safe uses of UAS in newsgathering. CNN has shared data and research that has helped formulate a framework for various types of UAS to be safely integrated into the national air space and continues to work to expand the safe and legal operation of UAS in newsgathering.

CNN has utilized UAS to provide understanding and context, enhanced storytelling and production value, led by Greg Agvent, senior director of National Newsgathering Technology. CNN’s deployment of UAS have demonstrated the breadth of the flooding in Louisiana and the water crisis in Flint, Mich. They have also been utilized at the Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions, CNN presidential primary debates and town halls, and to enhance storytelling across CNN’s platforms, including 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