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Alan Miller: Dispatch now has digital eye in the sky – News – The Columbus Dispatch

The Dispatch aircraft fleet is ready to go, and so is at least one pilot.

We have joined a growing number of news agencies employing drones to provide you with both video and still photos from news events and scenes of central Ohio.

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The Dispatch for decades has been an early adopter of new technology. We have photos in our archives showing what was big news then but now draws chuckles as we compare those “modern” advancements to today’s technology.

One of them was one of the earliest versions of a “news ticker” like those digital sign boards that scroll headlines today. It was a board covered with light bulbs placed beneath one of the early versions of the giant sign atop our old home. A person working some sort of keyboard would light up the bulbs to spell out words forming headlines about big news in the World War I era.

We’ve come a long way. And as I contemplate the next installment of our CbusNEXT.com series on the future of Columbus, I wonder what new marvel the Dispatch editor will be writing about 20 years from now.

For now, we are delighted with our new drones, which a few people in the newsroom have been learning to fly for several months.

At the forefront is Doral Chenoweth III, a photographer and videographer who took it upon himself to read the federal law regulating drones for commercial use, study the Federal Aviation Administration materials for about 40 hours to learn the rules to become a certified drone pilot, take the test and earn a license to fly one. Others here are in the process of doing the same.

Chenoweth has a drone of his own, as do a few others in the newsroom, and we recently purchased a more sophisticated drone for the newsroom. To look at the little machine, which is about the size of a loaf of bread and sports four little propellers about the size of table knives, you might be tempted to call it cute and…

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