The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
iReporter Chris Banderslice was especially busy reporting the news yesterday. He witnessed a nine-alarm fire on the historic boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Shortly after the blaze began he sent a series of photos from his cell phone, such as this one of firefighters up against the smoke . CNN learned about the fire thanks to Banderslice, and created an interactive map with his photos over on CNN.com.
The idea behind iReport.com is to invite everyone -- from the casual reader or viewer to the avid news hound -- to share the news that's important to you. The Ocean City fire is an excellent example of a story with powerful local impact. So, no matter how big or small the story is, we want to know what's happening near you . Your story could be part of CNN's worldwide coverage.
Wow! The iReport.com community just topped 10,000. And more than 300 new iReporters registered just today. Welcome! A few of our brand new iReporters are so on the ball they've already dressed up their profile pages with photos and details: check out Dia , misheahyatt , CrushInfamy , kenpty , Lissaz and Snapdragon to get to know some of the folks who're here. You can fix up your own page by following the "Edit My Profile" link on your "My Stuff" page.
If you created a new account on iReport.com yesterday or today and had trouble confirming your e-mail address, it should work now. We discovered a technical problem with the registration process today and have since fixed it. So upload away! If you're still having trouble with your account, please send an e-mail to let us know.
We've just discovered a technical problem with registration and we're working hard to fix it. If you created a new account on iReport.com in the last 24 hours, you most likely were not able to confirm your e-mail address. So any new stories that you've uploaded have been stuck in a "pending" state. We expect everything to be back to normal early this afternoon. Please check back here on the iReport.com blog for updates.
There are lots of ways to tell a story. Some stories are made for video, others work nicely with words and a picture, and a few are just screaming for a photo gallery. Or a graphic. Or a sound clip. Or maybe an animation.
Which is why the iReport.com story tools were made to handle all kinds of video, image and audio files, and build them into tabbed galleries that let the content do the storytelling instead of the medium.
Trouble is, when you're checking out iReport.com in a public place (ceiling-less cubicle, anyone?), you probably want to know which stories contain video or audio before they fill air with the sounds of breaking news.
So today we added little icons that signal what’s behind the headline you're about to click on. What do you think? Are they useful?
Bright and early every Monday morning, iReport.com starts the week off with a fresh batch of superstars. This Monday we've got a brand new contributor leading the pack: skc , whose video of a war protest in San Francisco last week set off a firestorm of comments. SlickNick and LadysHoodJnl are running a close second and third. How do you know who's a superstar? You can see the them all on the iReporters page , or check for a little red iReport logo near the screennames wherever people leave comments.
Many of you come over to iReport.com hoping to upload a great story based on an iReport topic you saw on CNN.com . If you're not already a registered user, we understand that the current experience is not ideal, as you hit the registration page right away. We're working to fix that.
Starting in early April, visitors coming over from a CNN.com story will be able to see more details on the topic we're asking for contributions on, as well as browse all of the great iReports that have already come in, right away. Then, we hope you'll take the time to register or sign in and add your own story. In the meantime, when you hit that page, we'd really appreciate it if you take the time to register on the site and upload your photos, videos, and audio using our upload forms. Please don't use the small "Feedback" links you see next to the logo to send us your stories. Instead, click on that link to give us some feedback on the site itself. We'd love to hear your thoughts on site design, usability, feature requests, bug reports, and anything else you want to let us know.
Thanks for being a founding member of the iReport.com community. We're always up for trying something new -- and we'd like to start something fun on Fridays. Every week, we're going to ask you to take part in a creative assignment. We promise to keep it fun and informative.
This week, we want to see your fun with time-lapse photography . If you've ever captured a sun setting, snow piling up, a flower growing -- whatever -- we hope you'll share your incredible creations on iReport.com. Go here to share yours .
We noticed this afternoon that the Pizza in Peril story, posted several weeks ago, had mysteriously disappeared from iReporter thepizzaman's "My Stuff" page. After some digging around, we think we've figured it out: "Pizza in Peril" got caught up in another fix we were making to change the "highest rated" and "most commented" list views on the iReport.com homepage. We adjusted the number of days a story will stay in those views from 30 to 15, and the change inadvertently affected some users' "My Stuff" pages. Watch for the missing pizza -- and other stories that may have mysteriously disappeared from your own "My Stuff" page -- to reappear early next week! In the meantime, you can always go to the tags page and click on pizza to reveal the missing pie.
Speaking of the tag cloud page ... looks a little like a tag fog, yeah? We're working on improvements to our tags page to make the most interesting topics stand out more. The most frequently used tags are now more visible in the tag cloud than they were before. They are also ordered alphabetically by default. You can still see the classic sort view at any time by clicking "sort by popularity."
Good news! We're up and running again after some fine-tuning this evening. Uploads should work again as normal. As always, if you see anything that's not quite right, please just drop a line in the comments or send us an e-mail .
Is it possible to have a healthy online discussion without it deteriorating into a hate-filled shouting match? Here at iReport.com, we think the answer is yes.
Last night a heated discussion was born -- sparked by a video taken by iReporter skc of protestors being arrested in San Francisco on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war. The lively conversation began with concern for the protestors, and quickly evolved into discussions about the Iraq war, the terror attacks of 9/11, civil rights, civil disobedience, stability in Iraq, the economy, and the race for the White House, etc. Why is this worth noting? Because iReport.com is more than just a place to share your stories; it's also a place to come to discuss your stories, and share your opinions. This is your site. So go ahead, join the conversation. There's one happening right now at iReport.com.
We need to take the iReport.com upload tool offline for a few minutes tonight to make important updates. Please note: you will not be able to upload new stories starting at 9 p.m. ET. We expect the outage to last just ten minutes, and we'll update you here when everything's back to normal. Thanks for your patience while we make improvements!
What is news in a virtual world? Here at iReport.com, some users are helping to determine that by sharing their stories from the 3-D virtual world of Second Life . The results so far are a mix of a little fantastic and fun. Did you know for instance that iReporter HeadBurro Antfarm has been documenting his virtual "road trip" in SL? His latest report finds HBA exploring the mysterious waters of Bodega bay by kayak .
Sound like something you'd be up for? And check out this um… interesting video from Hugo of an in-world caricature of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer pole dancing . We liken this video to a 3D editorial cartoon. How would you describe it? If you've ever been to SL, we invite you to share your stories right here .
Saturday morning, when the metro Atlanta area was reeling from one tornado and bracing for several more, a community of local Atlanta videobloggers was using the microblogging service Twitter to communicate with one another about where things were happening and who was covering them.
iReporter SpaceyG messaged that she'd heard damage was severe in Vine City, a neighborhood south of downtown Atlanta, and that news crews hadn't yet arrived. Shelbinator , another iReport contributor, heard the message and headed over, camera in hand. His video reports from Vine City were some of the first we saw from that neighborhood, which was so hard hit city authorities warned people who don’t need to go there to stay out.
This weekend's example makes me wonder: could there be a way for iReporters in the same area, or who are affected by the same kinds of events, to get in touch with one another? Head over to the comments for a brainstorm?
We just rolled out a cool new box on the CNN.com homepage that features a rolling photo feed of new iReports that were used on CNN. Go take a look -- if you've uploaded a story recently, you just may see your work on a homepage that draws millions of viewers every single day.
iReport.com goes higher profile today: this afternoon, we're placing links across CNN.com to invite the CNN community to contribute video and photo stories to this new site. I'm pretty sure that will draw more attention to us, and help our community to grow in numbers and in stories. But even before that, there have already been amazing things happening at iReport.com: in the four short weeks since the beta site launched, we've seen dozens of stories that were surprising , moving , inspiring and just plain funny . Heck, several of them have already made their way onto CNN.
We've also watched our community grow to an impressive 4,000+ iReporters , and collected hundreds of comments that add perspective and nuance to the stories on the site. You'll start to see the links on CNN.com later today. But first, we want to say thanks. Here's a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who's participated so far, either by sharing a story, adding a comment, sending valuable feedback, or just by watching, listening and taking in something new. There's still lots to do, but we're off to an incredible start.
Well, now you can use it to upload a video or photo to iReport.com. Just follow the simple instructions on the upload page to get your story straight from the event, onto the site, and out to the world. Then, once you’re back in front of a computer, you can claim the mobile upload as your own (and associate it with your iReport.com profile) by clicking on the “claim this story” link on the story page where you see it.
Questions? Suggestions? Fire away in the comments.
We're at it again! The iReport.com development team just released a new patch to the site's software that makes a few more upgrades. If you saw a "site temporarily down" message earlier this afternoon, that's why. It lasted about 15 minutes, and now that we're back, the site works a little bit better than before. Here's what we changed:
We updated the URLs on every page of the site. The change makes the addresses shorter and more descriptive. Please update your bookmarks!
We added a new item to your My Stuff page that shows you all the stories you've recently viewed. It's a nice way to keep tabs on things you visit on the site and a quick way to find them again.
We made another adjustment to the "newsiest" calculation that places stories at the top of the homepage. We're still working on getting that one right. Do you think we're close? Post a comment to let us know.
We added a new item to the FAQ page to help explain why you may not be seeing your story immediately after you uploaded it, and how to track it down.
We tried something new this afternoon -- on the Assignment Desk page , instead of asking for eyewitness video and photos of news events, we tossed out a question about the dispute over Democratic primary delegates in Florida and Michigan . A handful of folks put their thoughts on camera and uploaded a video response , provoking some interesting conversation in the comments. I think the photos and video of the people sounding off add a new dimension to their arguments.
What's your take? Should we ask more questions on the news on iReport.com? What would you ask? Drop a comment to let us know.
This morning we uncovered a problem with uploading that was keeping new stories from appearing on the site. After some investigation, the tech team came up with a fix, and the stalled stories from overnight came pouring in. If you uploaded something last night and didn't see it right away, take a look at your "my stuff" page now and you ought to see it. If it's still missing, please let us know .
iReport.com runs a little more smoothly today than it did yesterday, thanks to a new version of the site's software that our development team deployed this morning. (You may have noticed that the site went down for about 15 minutes around 8:30 a.m. ET. If you had trouble uploading then, please give it a try again now.) We're constantly improving and adjusting in response to your feedback. Here's what we did today:
* Added code snippets on every story page that allow users to embed the video or photos on their own sites. We've heard loud and clear that this is something people really want, and we're excited to roll it out today.
* Built in support for mobile upload (details coming soon -- get your cell phone camera ready!)
* Tweaked the newsiest formula a bit to give more emphasis to newer stories (see last week's blog post on that topic for more explanation)
* Built in a way to upload two stories at once, from different browser windows. If you tried to do that last week, both uploads would fail. But no more -- upload away!
As always, we count on you to tell us how we're doing, and what else you'd like to see. Drop a comment below or fill out one of the comment cards by clicking on the "Feedback" links on every page. We're listening!