Eyewitness reporting, particularly on warfare, environmental disasters, and other dramatic news events, might involve considerable journalistic risk taking. This study investigates in what ways the innovation of drones for journalistic purposes might extend and improve the use of eyewitness accounts, especially in areas or fields where human coverage would be impossible or too dangerous. It examines the interrelationships among new technologies, journalistic innovation, and the audience’s quest for constant visual enforcements, drawing on diffusion theory and social constructivist models for process innovation. It argues that the emergent genre of drone journalism might come to exemplify a “disruptive innovation,” an innovation that has emerged accidentally, but disrupts existing conceptions of visual journalism, and subsequently contributes to the creation of new markets and value networks.

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