Positive Press – Drones Doing GoodJuly 26, 2018 6 By Scott Hinkle
Today’s news tries to grab the public’s attention by focusing on the shocking and sensational side of things. Topics like “Done Hits Passenger Plane in Canada” and “Drones Continue to be the Scourge of Firefighters Everywhere” hurt the drone community as a whole. When people see these news programs and articles, it tends to sway opinion toward the “drones are bad” way of thinking. This can lead to all sorts of issues for drone pilots, from more restrictive laws, verbal abuse from passersby and even the occasional attempt to shoot your drone out of the sky.
Sadly, it seems that the negative far outweighs the positive when it comes to seeing drones in the news. We really need more positive press showing drones doing good. This post is related to an earlier post regarding Community Interactions – Improving Perception of the Drone Community. Please check it out when you have a chance.
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Are There Positive News Clips and Articles Related to Drones Out There?
Yes there are, I just don’t think there are nearly as many positive ones as there are negative, nor do I think they get the same coverage. Here are several recent ones showing drones doing good with a brief synopsis and link to the article/video:
- DJI Mavic Pro captures first person to ever ski down the K2 mountain summit – Here’s an article posted today (July 28th, 2018) on DroneDJ.com showing a Mavic Pro capturing the first person to ever ski down the K2 mountain summit.
- Mavic Pro helps save fallen mountain climber’s life – This one was from a couple day ago (July 24th, 2018) about how a Mavic Pro was used to help save a fallen mountain climber’s life.
- Drone Helps Rescue Man Trapped By Lava – Here’s a video on YouTube showing how a drone was able to help rescuers find a man trapped between lava and a dense forest back on May 30th, 2018.
- DJI Stories – Saved By A Drone – Check out this video from April 29th, 2018 about two Polish tourists stranded on the side of a mountain in Northern Iceland. I DJI Phantom 4 was used to help locate them.
- New lifesaving drone rescues swimmers by dropping inflatable pod – This one is actually on CNN! It’s from January, 18th, 2018 and shows drones used to drop inflatable pods to rescue those stranded in the water. Here’s another coverage of the same event on theverge.com: A drone has rescued two people from rough seas off the coast of Australia.
- An engineer modded a drone to rescue this puppy – This is, by far, my favorite one. It not only shows how drones can help others but shows how a single person can take initiative to create something in order to save a life (and a puppy’s no less). The post is dated March 5th, 2018. I may be less than impartial on this one as I am a dog guy. Here it is embedded into this post:
These are just a few examples of positive drone coverage. I’m sure there are many more. If you have links to ones you think should be included in this post, please share by commenting below. Spreading this type of coverage will only help the perception of the drone community.
What Can We Do To Show Drones in a Positive Light?
The simplest way to show drones in a positive lite is to actually do good deeds with them. Whether it’s volunteering for search and rescue operations, offering to help someone check their roof, offer to fly over a field for a local farmer or even taking pictures or video for someone just because, just the act of offering your services to help someone else will show that the drone community is full of nice people willing to help and not just adrenaline junkies trying to race a jetliner. Get involved in the local community and integrate your drone skills into whatever you’re doing. The more people that see drones being used responsibly and for good the better we will be off as a community.
In my last post I made a call to action suggesting a drone meetup. In it I was asking for help in setting up a world-wide drone day. Silly me, I didn’t know there already was one that just completed it’s 4th annual run. Good to know. I’ll be at the next one but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do another. The call is still out and I like to coordinate with people in various areas to organize a gathering to share knowledge, check out cool stuff you may not know of and just have fun. Please check it out: Drone Meetup – A Call to Action. Leave a comment if you’re willing to help, offer advice or just want to attend.
Another way is to spread good news when you see it. Share the articles above with others. Post them on your social media sites. Reach out to your local news stations and ask why they aren’t covering good news x and y. You might be surprised when you see it mentioned on the nightly news after you have brought it to their attention.
How Can We Help to Reduce the Negative Impressions of Drones?
There are may ways to help reduce the negative impressions of the drone community. First and foremost – Don’t fly like an asshat! Fly responsibly, be respectful of other’s privacy, follow local laws and just be a decent human being. It doesn’t do anyone in the drone community any good if you’re being observed acting irresponsibly.
I don’t want to say to “police others” but, if you see someone flying recklessly or operating in restricted areas, you might want to ask them about their activities. Approach them from a curiosity standpoint (i.e. “Hey, cool drone, what are you doing?”) or in a friendly manner, not in a confrontational way such as “Hey dumb-ass!”. What may look reckless could turn out to be totally legit. They may have authorization or might be working with the people they’re flying over, etc. If that is not the case, then informing them, in a friendly way, that what they are doing may cast a shadow on the drone community and offering them alternatives might be a good option.
What Options Do We Have to Make a Real Change?
In a nutshell, education and action. How we act (at least in public) will, in either a small or large way, mold the impressions of others around us. If we act responsibly and use our drones for good, others will take notice. If we take the time to educate others on proper drone procedures, ways to use our drones for good, and just the community in general it can lead to a better understanding between those who fly drones and those who don’t.
Organizing, hosting, or simply attending events and spreading the word can go a long way. Holding the news channels accountable when they only push the negative news and not the positive is another. Take a few of the articles above and share them with your local news stations. They may need filler content and might just take your suggestion.
In the end it’s just like politics…lobby lobby lobby. Just like any stereotype, public perception is based on the few things they see or hear and not the community as a whole. Let’s change what they see and hear. Be that one pilot or take that one action that get’s noticed in a positive way.
There you have it, a few ways to help generate positive press by showing drones doing good, acting responsibly, sharing information and educating others. Sitting in the shadows won’t do much for the community but getting out there, being seen and heard and just being involved will.
I’m sure there’s a ton more I may have missed and hope that you will take the time to comment below letting me know so I can add it to this article. If you agree with me, think I’m way off, have a suggestion or just want to say hello, please comment below. I read and respond to each one.