Drones already are a customary tool of journalists outside the United States, especially across Latin America and Europe. And among the converted it has become a sacred axiom that the development of affordable drones is a media revolution on par with the advent of cellphone cameras and Twitter. Like smartphones, drones are relatively cheap, easy to come by, and simply operated with a toy-plane-like remote. The popular dji Phantom quadcopter costs less than $500 on Amazon and, outfitted with a simple Go-Pro camera, is a novel tool—essentially a flying camera that extends the reach of photographers, citizen-journalists, and paparazzi, who now get “eyes in the sky” much like government and law enforcement have.

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