The Truth About News Choppers is Revealed and This Land is Not Necessarily Our Land

Having a news chopper is a double edged sword.  When legitimate news breaks and access is limited to the news site, you can’t beat a news chopper.  It gives a different perspective, it’s promotable and  it  provides a great billboard in the sky  as  it hovers over the  news scene.  On the other hand, news choppers are expensive to operate and  managers have to make sure they don’t use up too much of their budget early in the month so they end up grounded when they really need it.  But do they really need it?  An interesting commentary can be found on news choppers by Leslie Griffith of The Huffington Post.  Griffith also states in that article regarding news helicopters “Truth is, the media corporation does not care if you are informed, it only cares the television is on. That means ratings and that means advertising dollars.”    Still, when all is said and done, there will be the news operations with access to helicopters and those without.  Those with them will wonder how they can use them today and those without will wish they had one.

Did you know that the federal government can charge a news operation for videotaping or snapping photographs in a national park or wildlife refuge? Yes they can.  Depends on how the video is going to be used and if the federal managers really want to push it.  I ran into this a few years ago near Marianna, AR on a story I was working on for the Outdoor show at WREG.  Some guy claimed to have created a great fishing lure and we were going to try it out on videotape at a lake located in a STATE PARK located inside a NATIONAL FOREST.  After we drove over from Memphis we were told we’d have to pay something like 200 dollars to be able to  shoot video since this was for an entertainment program and it was inside federal property.  I thought the person was pulling my leg until I started making phone calls and found out they weren’t kidding.  We ended up not having to pay a fee since we were going to just turn around and go home and some of the local townspeople wanted the publicity.  Why am I mentioning this now?  Because the federal government is re-visiting the rules on that issue and there are concerns they could create even tighter restrictions.  The details can be found in this article from the National Press Photographers Association.  Right now you can still watch wildlife in these refuges but if you take photographs or video for publication or broadcast expect to pay.  What was it Woody Guthrie said “This land is your land, this land is my land”….yah right.

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