The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
This isn't your typical "Fun on Friday" assignment. This is a video challenge, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with. iReport is all about you. We want to see how YOU would promote iReport.com by making a short commercial .
There are some rules -- for instance, you've got to make it exactly 15 or 30 seconds long -- but all you need to get started is a great idea. So go ahead, get creative. You could win some new video equipment, maybe even get your commercial on TV.
The number of new users on iReport.com keeps getting bigger by the day. We'd like to recognize some of the notable newcomers.
iReporter vincois was on the scene of an explosion at a Hilton hotel in San Diego, California. SupportTAPS shared a touching Memorial Day tribute to her brother, who was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, in August 2007. And when severe weather hit Kat215 's neighborhood, she documented the storm damage . On a lighter note, roku keeps us entertained with video demonstrations of the Wii Fit . He also documented how he uses Polaroid film with new technology . iReporter Oyeah shared the catchy "Ba Rock Song ." And JacobKhalaf shared a special moment –- his "slam dunk" proposal at a Detroit Piston's game .
You may have noticed this morning that the "Newsiest Now" montage on the home page has gotten a facelift. We gave it a more interactive, dynamic design in an effort to better highlight your incredible stories. You can now check out the top 12 newsiest iReports, and get a quick preview of video and audio stories by exploring the montage.
Don't forget, newsiest is a calculation that combines freshness, popularity, activity and ratings. That means it's all based on the contributions you make to the site, and reflects what you think is newsworthy right now.
We're working hard to roll out more improvements to the site on a regular basis. As always, let us know if you've got any suggestions! Leave a comment here, or click on that small animating "Feedback" link you see next to the logo to tell us what you think.
iReport.com will be down for maintenance for about 15 minutes starting at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday. If you've got news that can't wait while we're down, please send it to email@example.com. Thanks!
When Chris Dorsey (cdorsey87 ) was asked by the pastors of a South African church to take pictures of a camp for refugees of war-torn Somalia, he was not quite prepared for what he would encounter that day . Hours after he arrived at a camp at a nature reserve near Cape Town, hundreds upon hundreds of refugees began pouring in, seeking food and shelter. Dorsey helped out with registration, and handed out blankets, medical supplies and food. As tents went up and electricity was installed, Dorsey was blown away by it all.
"All of this was organized in a single day, entirely by the local churches," he says. "It was incredible to see the outpouring of love in the midst of such tragedy." However, he also warns that camps like this one "are on the brink of a humanitarian crisis." Dorsey was able to share this story with the world, with his own words and compelling images, by logging on to iReport.com .
iReporters are feeling spacey lately with all the news of the Phoenix lander touching down on Mars. After JenniferS got the chance to go on a NASA field mission in California's Mojave Desert, she was compelled to follow up by visiting NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View. There, she watched as the Phoenix lander touched Martian soil .
The iReports she captured along the way show both the technological and human sides of space exploration: the long hours of research and training logged along the way, and the tense minutes leading up to do-or-die success. She adds to a long list of iReporters who've given us a look at everything from eclipses and to shuttle launches .
User tnhiker wowed us with his shots of Saturn, Jupiter, the sun and more . Another iReporter, astro , has photographed the International Space Station , a solar eclipse and the Hale-Bopp comet . We also got an iReport about the Mars landing from inside the virtual world of Second Life, courtesy of SL iReporter iRocket . And who could forget BDrenning 's footage taken of lights that flashed over Phoenix, Arizona?
Maybe you're a space-loving photographer, too. If so, send us your photos and video and share your tricks for getting that great shot against all interplanetary odds.
"Whatever I do here, is not enough nor will it ever be. But I will try as will the rest of the world." – Dr. Matt Marko
After China's devastating earthquakes, Dr. Matt Marko and his wife traveled to the hard-hit town of Xiao ba, and set up a makeshift medical clinic to help treat survivors. "I saw a photo of seven school children all deceased and knew I had to go," he told CNN in an e-mail interview.
Marko sent photos of the shattered region to iReport.com and described the difficult conditions survivors face. His seven-person team treated hundreds of patients in the days following the quake -- many for fractures, contusions, lacerations, dislocations, dehydration and some malnutrition. Marko is one of the few Western psychiatrists practicing in China and says many residents will be under severe psychological strain once the shock wears off. He says he gave children in the camp little jobs to take their minds off of the situation.
Marko's story is one of many from iReporters whose lives were affected by the earthquakes in China. You can read more here .
In the past, when severe storms have struck, iReporters have frequently responded by sharing photos and video that provide a window onto their experience. iReport.com user Buckholtz 's photos and video of storm damage in Macon, Georgia, are unique because they explain how Asperger's Syndrome affected the way he perceived the event.
"The noises created by the wind force of a tornado, along with flying debris is confusing and disorienting," Buckholtz writes. "I knew I was supposed to move to a certain area of the house, but, my mind was being inundated with sounds of what I thought was something either about to fall on me or lift the roof up!"
Personal stories like his are what make iReport.com different than other news sources. By sending us your photos and videos and telling us about them, you're helping to write history. We want to know what stories you have to share . How do your own personal life experiences shape the way you define and interpret the news? Comment below and share your thoughts.
We've all been moved by the responses we received when we asked iReporters to share stories and memories of troops they lost to war . The supportive community that cropped up around these stories, however, was something of a surprise.
When sinej submitted an iReport paying tribute to Lt. Peter H Burkes, her best friend of 13 years, sarahburkes logged on to iReport.com to leave the following comment on sinej's story: "peter is my hero. he was an amazing big brother and i miss him everyday. i love you peter. and we are taking good care of missy!"
And when Mail4DaveN submitted his iReport tribute to his brother, Cpl Richard J Nelson , everyone from friends, family, and people that only knew Ricky through stories shared their condolences. A truly remarkable show of support, and we hope more iReporters will share their comments and stories, too.
It turns out that swimmers in China love to jump in these floating spheres and spend some time at sea, according to boontown . He's one of many, many iReporters who have seen something slightly bizarre or off-kilter and decided to share their photos about the experience. Even better, we've also gotten fantastic videos like the great footage of a giant model train set submitted by JQuezada .
So if you find yourself bored this weekend, we encourage you to occupy yourself by sending us the strangest photo or video you've ever taken . That's right, we want to see the wackiness. Keep it clean, keep it simple and most of all, keep it offbeat. Can't wait to see what you come up with.
When iReporter MyDogsDad heard about today's tornado in Windsor, Colorado, he had a bright idea. MyDogsDad jumped online and googled "Windsor webcam."
What he found was an amazing photo of a huge tornado from someone's backyard webcam. iReporter kmac1967 tells us that he also has a webcam. He uses his to keep an eye on his man cave ! Definitely wouldn't want any activity there going unnoticed.
Do you have a webcam that you use to keep up with goings on in your backyard or elsewhere? If so, we'd love to see what kind of footage you get. Share your webcam photos and videos with the iReport.com community!
Plenty of news happens within the expansive confines of the virtual society known as Second Life . Thankfully, iReporters are keeping a careful watch over this corner of the digital universe. Some of these stories have run on CNN.
PhorkyadA presented a fantastic video of a rehearsal for a performance of Euripedes' "The Bacchae" at the Greek Theater on Cookie island . We presented his video during our weekly public newsgathering discussion in Second Life and brought up other topics that appeared in the week's SL iReports. Story subject matter included diverse topics such as the Furry subculture , the darkly themed simulation of Black Swan and games of "human chess" played by avatars.
If you're in Second Life, you can join in on the fun, too. See a story or issue you'd like to cover? Simply take a postcard or snapshot and upload it at iReport.com . Or, e-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org . In-world news chasers can also meet with iReport staffers at the iReport hub on Future each Tuesday at 2 p.m. Second Life time (5 p.m. ET) for the weekly meeting. Hope to see your stories very soon!
When wildfires blazed through Malabar, Florida last week, iReporters were there to cover it . The fires were particularly close to iReporter SupermouseDV . In fact, they were right next to his workplace. This put him in a special position to follow the firefighters as they battled the flames from beginning to end .
Once the fire was put out, SupermouseDV was able to show us something we don’t always see -- the extensive damage to the forest , which the fires left behind. He went out the night of May 13th and the following morning to shoot video of the devastation left in the fire’s wake. He discovered dead trees as far as the eye could see, and in one case, a dead animal . SupermouseDV 's videos show the true power of iReport.com by giving us an up-close look into a major news story.
Do you Tweet? We do. iReport is on Twitter , and there are now more than 300 users keeping up with our updates. Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to keep each other updated in 140 characters or less. Right now, we're using it to keep folks aware of the latest assignments we're looking for. There are plenty of other ways we can use Twitter, though. Do you have any ideas? If you use Twitter, be sure to follow iReport . Here's to the next 300 new friends!
One of my favorite parts of iReport.com is the iReporters page , where you get a peek at many of the faces of the contributors who fill up this site with personal and global news stories every day. But lately it's gotten a little less interesting as several folks in the superstar ranks have declined to upload a profile picture, leaving us with the plain brown default.
As Mz. Ella of LadysHoodJnl put it in a recent message to me, "I don't mingle with iReporters without credentials in here: No photo - no clips; get no reply from me, because they serve as distractive sidebars." Don't be a sidebar, y'all. Let's see that mug. All you need is a 120x120 photo of yourself. Head to your Edit My Profile page to upload it.
CNN.com won the Knight News Innovation EPpy Award last week, and in awarding the honor, judges praised the iReport initiative for increasing the scope of global news reports. We're especially proud of the award and hope you are, too. After all, it's your contributions that make iReport what it is. So congratulations! Your work is part of an award-winning news site!
CNN.com Live anchor Nicole Lapin hosts Young People Who Rock , a weekly interview series that profiles people under 30 doing remarkable things. The series has been a great success, and you could help make it better.
Check out the YPWR blog to meet the latest featured young people. This week, Nicole introduces a set of triplets who are helping to save polar bears . Are you curious about their inspiration? Do you want advice for your own selfless acts?
Send in a video question and you could be featured on CNN.
This Friday, we want to see how you have fun, with the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo is scheduled to release its Wii Fit in the U.S. on May 18, 2008. The unconventional fitness game is expected to widen the audience for a console that is already difficult to find in stores. Are you planning on getting one? Do you already have a Wii?
Matthewmilam calls it "the baddest game system" , while Ryn raves about it as an "essential resource for autistic children" . pillsbury says the Wii is a key part of his mancave . Do you know someone who's really enthusiastic about his or her Wii? Catch them on tape, getting into the action. We can’t wait to see your photos and videos.
That's everyday life for WCNreporter , one of the hardest-working people in the business. At the time of writing, he has already submitted 66 iReports. We expect that number to be outdated pretty soon. The Virginia Beach, Virginia, resident sent in questions for Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama . The Clinton question was used in a "Situation Room" interview. He's also commented on rebate checks , the rising cost of food and severe weather in his area . Roller coasters and amusement parks round out the diverse topics he covers.
Do you have a story to tell? Scour our assignment desk and send us your own photos and video.
The huge response from iReporters with questions for Sen. Barack Obama was matched with another very strong turnout for Sen. Hillary Clinton. More than 60 video and photo questions were submitted. Hundreds of comments and additional questions were posted on iReport.com. Discussion touched her candidacy, fuel prices and the economy.
Clinton responded directly to questions from sutton85 and WCNreporter , which were chosen to air on "The Situation Room." The discussion also became a major part of stories on CNN.com, where we also had a chance to feature other outstanding some submissions that weren't aired .
Did you get a chance to watch the interview? What answers and comments affected you the most? Any questions you'd like to ask? Share your response as a video commentary .
A few weeks ago we noticed that the printed page view numbers on iReport.com stories seemed awfully low. So we did a little digging and learned that the number of views that appears on every iReport.com story page wasn't being calculated the right way.That meant that stories like kbc9393 's amazing video of this week's China earthquake was marked as having about 5,400 views when in reality it’s more like 237,000. That's a big difference, and it reveals one more accurate measure of the impact iReport.com stories can have.
So today we're happy to announce that the bug is fixed. From now on, new stories should get the right view count (and we're working hard on adjusting all the old stories, too). That fix was part of a few site updates that rolled out this morning. Also included: a new "last updated" date on stories so you can know when they were edited and support for thumbnail images in our RSS feeds. Hooray! Hope you like the updates as much as we do.
iReport.com will be down for maintenance for about 15 minutes starting at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday. If you’ve got news that can't wait while we're down, please send it to email@example.com. Thanks!
During a developing news situation Monday night, iReporters took the initiative to keep each other informed about what was happening. Repeat iReporter adicembre alerted the iReport.com community of what he said was a police stand-off in Buffalo, New York, involving a man with a gun to his head. iReport.com users responded with updates in the comments. Others chimed in as well , pointing users to adicembre’s discussion .
iReporters throughout the Buffalo area continued to follow the story as it developed, and it concluded peacefully with the man taken into custody, according to local affiliate WIVB. Just another great example of how iReport’s community of users stretch the site in new ways to show its full potential.
We asked iReporters to send in questions for Sen. Barack Obama last week. Now it's time to put Sen. Hillary Clinton in the hot seat. The Democratic presidential candidate will be in CNN's "The Situation Room" tomorrow. She'll talk about her campaign and what's next for her bid for the White House.
What would you like to ask Clinton? Submit your questions as comments below or, better yet, send in a question on video . You could appear on CNN!
From the devastating cyclone in Myanmar to the heated Democratic presidential race in the U.S., major news events have brought visitors from around the world to iReport.com. We'd like to recognize a few outstanding newcomers.
iReporters avotius and bmgeisler both witnessed Monday's 7.9-magnitude earthquake in central China. Check out their powerful photos of people in the streets in Chongqing and students camping outside Sichuan University . Storm chaser MDouglas sent in amazing video and photos of a tornado in Neosho, Missouri. Ohio iReporter theperish sent in video of people waiting in line for 23-cent pizzas at Papa John’s in Cleveland. And rocker OTEP took the time from her touring schedule to send in a video question for Sen. Barack Obama.
At iReport.com, your stories can be a part of CNN's global news reporting. You've probably noticed that red "On CNN" stamp on hundreds of iReports throughout the site. Every one of those iReports has been vetted by CNN producers for use in CNN's coverage. iReport.com images, video and stories appear often on CNN TV and CNN.com. iReporters themselves often share their personal stories or eyewitness accounts of major breaking news on CNN air. We think that's really special and hope you do, too.
There's no guarantee that your iReport will appear "On CNN," but the ones that do share some common traits. Stories that have the "On CNN" stamp typically:
*Are tied to the news of the day
*Provide a perspective or angle on a story that isn’t available anywhere else
*Include the components of a good story -- the who, what, why, where and when
Two final, but important, tips: If you want your story to appear "On CNN," make sure that all the content in your iReport, including text and images, is your own. Also, please add a phone number to your private profile so CNN producers can call you with questions. We hope to see your iReport "On CNN" soon.
What's the world like just outside your front door? Take a walk down the sidewalk in your suburb or show us your favorite local hangouts. Playgrounds, streets, fire escapes. Just you, friends and family in your native habitat.
You might find inspiration in some of the vignettes we've seen from LadysHoodJnl . Like her, you could document the scene inside a local market , or film a local performer . There's also the old "beasty bar", and the simple sight of people dancing . She's even submitted video from a plumbers and pipefitters union rally and given us a look at a living garden scarecrow .
Use your imagination and let your photos and video do the talking.
It seems there are plenty of people who'd like to ask Sen. Barack Obama a question. We received a huge response from iReporters, with more than 100 video and photo questions and dozens of comments here on the blog.
Topics ranged from rising gas prices to health care to potential vice presidents. Obama responded directly to two video questions on “The Situation Room,” and we featured some other outstanding submissions on CNN.com.
Did you watch the interview? If so, we want to hear from you. What did you think of the iReport questions? What was your favorite answer? What should have been asked? Give us your take in a quick video commentary . And if you didn’t catch the interview on TV, you can watch it here .
Would you like to ask Sen. Barack Obama a question? Well, here’s your opportunity. The Democratic presidential candidate will be in “The Situation Room” on CNN tomorrow to discuss what’s next in his campaign in his first interview since his significant win in North Carolina and narrow defeat in Indiana. So, what question would you like to ask? Submit it as a comment below or send in a question on video .
Chile's Chaiten volcano awoke after more than 9,000 years Tuesday -- spewing clouds of gray smoke, toxic gas and hot rocks, and forcing the evacuation of residents of the small town of Chaiten. iReport.com user MattFuta shared this powerful video of a town completely covered in ash.
We think it's a pretty compelling story. What do you think?
When iReport.com launched a few months ago, we started off with a set of Community Guidelines that set the ground rules for the site. What's welcome, what's not, what's news. It's pretty simple by design, just a framework for all of us to lean on as we build a brand new kind of news site. But now that we're several weeks and thousands of stories in, it might be time to look at them again. Do you see something that's missing? Let's talk about it in the comments.
Take a look at his videos. You can do it, too. If your computer has a built-in camera, being an iReporter is as simple as clicking a button, saying a few words and making a quick upload at iReport.com. Take a second and send your video response . It's a great way to share your views.
The submission not only led to catchy headlines, it inspired thoughtful discussion among iReporters, with 58 comments and counting. And as severe weather rolled through the Midwest, she was on the scene with video footage of lightning and heavy rain and a photo of dark clouds in the sky.
Her latest iReport offers a closer look at Gas, a witty and engaging video that captures the spirit of the small Kansas town. We'd love to get a closer look where you live. Capture a slice of life in your town or show us why you love the city life .
MakeYourNut was one of our very first iReporters back in February when we launched the site. His Thursday lunch reports made our mouths water, and one member of the iReport Team, David , even tried out his recipe for fried rice ! (He says it was fantastic.)
In fact, MakeYourNut was so inspired by the fun he had posting recipes to iReport.com that he started his own cooking blog. Check it out and let him know what you think!
Making little reminders to yourself on paper is a common organizational activity, and you've probably made plenty of to-do lists and impromptu sketches. We want to see your notes and hear your stories about them.
If you keep a notebook with you, show us your favorite page. Make a video about your scribblings, or take a picture of your favorite note and tell us the story behind it.
Share your notes on iReport.com.
We're really excited about an update that just went live to iReport.com. Starting today, you'll be able to edit your stories after they've posted. Here's how:
Make sure you're logged in
Look for the "Edit Your Story" button on the story pages (it's blue and right under the video or photo). You can find a complete list of your iReports on your "My Stuff" page, and "Edit Your Story" buttons there, too.
Click "Edit Your Story" to go to a page where you can adjust your headline, description, tags, location and date.
Hit "Save" and you're finished. Your changes should show up almost immediately.
Please go give it a try and let us know what you think.
iReporters continue to astonish us with their fantastic photography skills and sensitive news noses, and lately we've seen some great shows of creativity on the site too.
Check out this awesome example of a time-lapse video. iReporter historylover sped up a video of herself making art with Fruit Loops. She says it she worked four hours a day for a week to make her masterpiece! KenCC used digital photo editing to represent what it sometimes feels like being a parent . Ken says it’s “my first try at digital editing.” DRSPIEGEL1 used his photography skills and some good timing to get these shots of beautiful bird eggs before and after hatching. What a great representation of springtime.
Every Friday we invite you to flex your creative muscle with our "Fun on Friday" solicitations. Be sure to check back in at our assignment desk tomorrow to see what challenge we offer next.
Something cool just happened -- our 25,000th iReporter joined the community. Welcome, whitn072 ! And in honor of that big, round number, we're starting a brand new club. The price of entry? A story that strikes a chord with enough people to score 25,000 views from other members of the iReport.com community. BDrenning got us all talking last week with his video of a UFO over Phoenix, Arizona, making him the inaugural member of our informal gathering. Who's next? Probably someone with another newsy and provocative video. Could that be you? Bring it on!
During the summer, dry ground parched by hot winds creates conditions that can unfortunately help wildfires to grow and spread. Sometimes, these fires endanger lives and homes. Several fires have popped up so far in 2008, some of them located just minutes from iReporters' homes.
Images from traintalk , defmatnyc and HighlandBear of the Sierra Madre fires in California have helped show how devastating these fires are. We've also seen PeterOjeda 's pictures of a brush fire in Texas . Another submitter, ronspics , sent photos of a blaze at Minnewaska State Park in New York .
Have you ever witnessed a wildfire? Check iReport.com to see images already sent and upload your own . Wildfires can become dangerous and unpredictable natural disasters, so follow the guidance from local fire authorities and don't put yourself in danger. You can always see photos and video on your computer screen at iReport.com.