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Drone use highlights questions for journalists

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HARTFORD — As police responded to a deadly car crash, they noticed an increasingly familiar sight: a remote-controlled aircraft, equipped with a video camera, hovering over the wreckage.

The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation of the drone, which was used by an on-call employee for a Connecticut television station. The FAA is developing new rules as the technology makes drones far more versatile, but for now operators can run afoul of regulations by using them for commercial purposes, including journalism.

The case of the Hartford crash, in which the victim’s body was left hanging out of a mangled car, highlights some of the safety, privacy and ethical issues that journalists will wrestle with as interest grows in using drones for newsgathering.

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