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By Rylee Nelson, Forum News Service, Published May 02 2013

Forum Communications takes news gathering to new heights

FARGO – Forum Communications Co. has enlisted new aerial perspectives to provide its readers and viewers with over-the-top coverage of the 2013 Red River Valley flood.

Flyover video captured by way of a remote-control aircraft, or drone, shows the swelling river from a unique angle. This unique approach to reporting the big story is now catching national attention.

In the past few years, high-definition, durable cameras have become increasingly available. And while the use of drones has been somewhat controversial in fields such as law enforcement, the devices are being used in a variety of ways – by outdoorsmen, extreme sports enthusiasts and, in this case, by news gatherers.

Chris Dorsey, director of multimedia accounts and digital advertising for Forum Communications, has been flying his quadcopter, mounted with a GoPro, HD video camera, to provide a unique view of the flooding. The idea began from a personal interest of Dorsey’s to simply fly remote-control aircraft. From there, he and Jim Manney, Forum Communications video manager, put together a plan to use the aerial machine for video on Inforum TV, a video-focused news website of Forum Communications.

“The whole idea stems from the idea to take our viewers to a place they have never been. A place they couldn’t go,” Manney said.

The rather small idea has gained big attention from national audiences this week. Even the Weather Channel commented on how neat the idea was, Dorsey noted. Several national media outlets have contacted Dorsey and Manny to use the video in their own broadcasts.

For Dorsey and Manney, it’s a matter of how far they can go to bringing new and unique perspectives to viewers.

“Video is such a huge part of where we are going … it is information for the public. This is evident in our investment in

InForumTV,” Dorsey said, noting that the quadcopter may be used for other story coverage in the future, such as the Fargo Marathon or even a RedHawks baseball game.

Still, Dorsey and Manney say they are well aware of their boundaries when it comes to the use of the personal aircraft. To begin flying the device, they had to be in contact with the FAA to make sure they were following drone law. They also say they want to respect people’s privacy. You won’t find them flying over anyone’s fence.

Video of the Red River flooding is available on www.inforumtv.com.