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It was quite the momentous occasion Saturday night as four iReporters were live in-studio with Roland Martin on his CNN special "What They Didn't Say... in the Debate". After maggiedo 's (real name: Maggie Dowling) iReport on McCain's call to postpone the debate because of the bail-out, she told Martin that "McCain didn't talk about what his big plan was to delay the debate." mongo9584 (real name: Kevin Neugebauer) responded, "If we're having a problem like this in the financial institutions, it is (McCain and Obama's) job to do what they can do to help." Neugebauer mentioned that immigration, a major issue in his hometown of Katy, Texas, was not discussed in the debate. kbrown0419 (real name: Katy Brown) was disappointed in the exchange over the bail-out during the debate in particular: "It seemed like they beat around the bush. It was never a direct answer." She was also disappointed that North Korea was not discussed at length in the debate. zennie62 (real name: Zennie Abraham) said, "I thought Senator Obama did a great job in mentioning China and our relationship with China and that we borrow money from them, which leaves us vulnerable to their actions around the world, but I don't think that anyone in Congress fully understands that we're in serious economic trouble ." As Martin said, "Political pundits are just fine but (iReporters) are the voters and your opinion is what really matters," and it was great to see iReporters given a chance to share their views in a forum like this. Click here to watch the lively discussion in full , and fire up your webcam to share your thoughts on the debate here .
Four iReporters are making their CNN television debuts Saturday evening. kbrown0419 , zennie62 , maggiedo , and mongo9584 are headed to New York City, where they'll participate in a post-debate panel discussion live on the air and have a chance to share their opinions and ask questions. Their topic of discussion? What Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama didn't say in the debate. The iReporters will be joined by expert panelists like CNN business correspondent Ali Velshi, State Department correspondent Zain Verjee, and commentator Roland Martin. Watch them live Saturday at 8 p.m. ET during CNN's "What They Didn't Say…In The Debate." And be sure to watch McCain and Obama face off tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Put your thoughts from the debate on video, and you could be the next iReporter featured on CNN!
We just wrapped up a great round of usability testing here. Over the past few weeks we brought in over a dozen iReporters, both novices and superstars from a range of demographics, to our fantastic in-house usability lab. We observed while they browsed the site, looked for iReports and iReporters, uploaded stories, and we paid special attention to how they navigated the site and took note of all the feedback they had for us. It was a lot of fun.
The purpose of user testing is to surface any problems that our users (that’s you!) may have related to using iReport.com so that we can address them and continue to make your experience here a great one.
We look forward to sharing the results of the usability testing with you – and more importantly, what actions we’re going to take based on your great feedback – very soon. As always, if you have any suggestions, leave us a comment here, or click on that small animating "Feedback" link you see next to the logo to tell us what you think.
We don't typically get excited at the thought of smear campaigns and attack ads on iReport.com, but we'll make an exception for two fantastic videos from sketch comedy team WoodenNickel . They turned stereotypical campaign tactics on their head by lampooning both the upcoming election and the Blogosphere backchat about the redesign of Facebook. Check out their dueling "ads" for old Facebook and new Facebook . The pieces are creative and show off how a little video editing and a lot of imagination can go a long way toward creating inventive iReport stories. Do you see any opportunities to mash two different ideas together into something wholly different? We get some really good comedy pieces from time to time and they're pretty inspiring. If you've got a gift for gab, we encourage you to test your filmmaking mettle by making an entry in the iReport Film Festival . Funny or serious, anything goes as long as it's good. And while you're at it, visit the assignment desk and see if anything tickles your fancy.
Gas shortages are adding no shortage of stress and delay for commuters in the U.S. Southeast. We've seen iReports from all around Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte and beyond. Team iReport is feeling the pain at the pump, too: one of our producers had to work from home yesterday because he didn't have enough fuel to make it to the office. But enough about the problems. Let's put our heads together to find a solution. We just rolled out a special version of the iReport.com map that shows just stories about gas, where it's out and where it's available. If you’re driving around and see a long line or an available pump, snap a picture and post it to iReport.com. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org from your mobile or upload here when you get home. Be sure to tell us where you are and when you’re taking the picture. Then check out the newest iReports on this map to see what iReporters all around the region are reporting back. Fingers crossed, together we can make this a little easier on all of us.
Taiwan has been affected by at least two typhoons in recent months, and another might be heading its way. Los Angeles iReporter nealmoore -- who has recently been living in Taipei, Taiwan -- has been documenting the damage and sharing the latest information from his rooftop apartment. He first iReported as typhoon Fung-wong approached at the end of July. Then, when deadly typhoon Sinlaku hit the area hard, nealmoore grabbed his camera and headed up to Wulai Mountain to show the real extent of the damage with stunning video footage. nealmoore is currently keeping a close eye on Typhoon Hagupit, iReporting from his rooftop . He may have started this year working in the political world, but it’s possible that he may have found a new calling in covering these intense storms. Are you seeing severe weather in your area? Share your photos and video with us , but remember to be careful out there!
Every day the iReport team in Atlanta gets to talk to some pretty amazing people. We call up iReporters who've uploaded interesting stories and we find out more about what happened and how. But during those calls we also get to hear something that I think often gets lost in translation: who the iReporters are, what moves them, why they're part of this community. Which makes me think we ought to try making some video self-portraits. Let's find a way to use short, on-camera hello's to introduce ourselves to one another. If you post one, drop a comment here to let us know where to find it. And maybe add "selfportrait" as a tag. Meantime, take a look at these other online video portrait projects for a little inspiration. There's something about watching people's faces, especially when they’re alive and moving, that I think is pretty riveting. Hope you'll share yours:
* VlogYourFace , an open invitation to share a minute of your face on video. Alarmingly addictive for being so simple.
* Here's Looking at You , a film about what we think about people based on what they look like.
* On Being , a series of video portraits from the WashingtonPost.com.
We've had a problem this morning with a user posting links to some pretty awful Web sites in the comments of different iReports. Since doing that is in violation of our Community Guidelines, the user was banned and we've deleted the comments we've found. But we get a lot of iReports and tons of comments, so it's hard to catch them all.
So we're asking you to help.
If you see a comment that you think violates our Community Guidelines please click the red Flag for Review link next to the commenter's user name.
If enough people flag the comments it will bring them to our attention so we can deal with them and let you get on with the lively debates that are going on all over the site.
If you have other ideas for dealing with comments we'd like to hear them. Please post your ideas in the comments below.
Thanks for your help on this.
CNN is looking to start something new this weekend, and it all begins right here on iReport.com. Anchor Don Lemon wants to talk with you, the iReport community, about how you're weathering this week's dismal news from Wall Street. Here's his invite: I was out running errands with my mom the other day. She needed some help after losing power for over a week because of Hurricane Gustav. When I stopped to buy coffee at the local coffee house she said, "You sure you want to pay that much for a cup of coffee? Times are tough." And that's when it hit me. No matter who you are or how much money you make, times are tough. They're getting tougher with the recent collapse of so many Wall Street mainstays. What in the world is going on? I didn't buy the coffee. I stopped buying bottled water too. And like many of our viewers and iReporters I've been cutting back and checking my investments, including my 401k. I haven't looked at my 401k in years. I know it's there. I just feel like as long as I keep putting money into it I'll be fine. But I'm not so sure lately. I need some advice. Am I putting my money in the right place? Should I even put it in a 401k? Lots of questions. And I'm sure you have some too. If you had the chance what would you ask a financial expert? Or maybe you have a personal story to share about how your life has been impacted by the economy. Send us your video iReport and we'll try to get it on CNN on Saturday and Sunday night. Why not, it's free advice? So what are you waiting for? Post your iReport today , then tune in Saturday and Sunday night on CNN to join the conversation.
Yesterday, we received an amazing submission from iReport.com user austinheli. His photos showed a lone house standing in a wasteland left in Ike's aftermath.
We contacted austinheli , who is Ray Asgar, a private helicopter pilot based in Austin, Texas. He visited Gilchrist and Galveston Monday to photograph the damage left after Hurricane Ike slammed the coastal area last weekend. The lone yellow house caught Asgar's attention. He said it was the only structure standing for miles. Considering the extent of Ike’s devastation, he said, it was "odd to have nearly any damage to one home."
Several users left comments on Asgar's iReport , joining a debate about whether or not his photos were real. One user who jumped in was Kelley1. “This is my sister's house. It is real,” she wrote. Shortly afterward, Kelley1 uploaded a photo of the yellow house that was taken in May.
Kelley1 is Judy Hudspeth and the house belongs to her sister, Pam Adams. Pam and Warren Adams rebuilt their home in February 2006 after Hurricane Rita destroyed it the previous year. Hudspeth said that the couple hired a contractor to build a home that could withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Warren Adams watched over every step of the construction to make sure it was done correctly.
The couple evacuated to a friend's house in Lufkin, Texas, hours before Ike made landfall last week. Hudspeth said they've been without power since Saturday, and that her sister was "hysterical" when she initially heard everything was gone in Gilchrist. Pam and Warren have since learned that their house is one of the few in the area to survive the storm. They are returning to see the devastating damage today.
The iReport.com engineers are working to fix a glitch this morning that's causing some new uploads to remain stuck in the "pending" state. Please know that we're working to make sure those iReports get onto the site as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!
Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston's Bermuda Beach subdivision over the weekend and iReporter CarlosOrtega has given us an amazing view of the destruction. The photos show cracked and sagging houses , a dead cow and miles and miles of debris. But some of the most powerful photos he submitted were taken from his porch last summer. One shows Ortega's well-manicured lawn, a quiet street and his neighbors' cheerfully colored houses. Now there's just debris.
iReporter Matteu took his chances in Galveston, Texas, and found Hurricane Ike to be worse than expected. Once he left the area for drier land in Dallas, he sent an iReport looking back on his experience . "I think everybody downplayed the severity of the storm including myself," he told us when we called him. While he says he doesn't regret his decision to stay in town, he says he was thankful he had a choice to do so. Others, he said, were stuck there. The storm turned his boarded-up home into a "10-foot swimming pool" and destroyed his car on the second floor of the parking garage. Most of his personal items were unsalvageable. Amidst this chaos, he donned waders and grabbed his surfboard to help others stranded in the area. "Some people literally hid in their attics," he said. "Right after the storm you go into these areas and they were just helpless. They were just waiting." And then there was the smell. Think about the surprise of the patrons at a Dairy Queen along the way to Dallas when Matteu and his friends walked in: "Imagine leaving your clothes accidentally in the washer for 10 days, it's just disgusting. and I hate to say it too but over the course of time I guess you just become acclimated to it." He doesn't have much left now except his own life, and he's taken pictures of neighborhoods so he can give friends an idea of what has happened to their homes. He says he doesn't know how to prepare someone to find out that their home is wrecked while they ride out their current state of limbo. "The only thing I've been telling people is wait to go back. There's nothing you can do right now but wait." What do you think? Are you going back home? Share your story .
I just got off the phone with George Holleran, a storm chaser who drove all the way from Panama City, Florida, to Galveston Island, Texas, where he captured incredible video of storm surge slamming into and over the seawall . Tonight, Holleran is riding out the storm in a Houston hotel, and feeling much safer. "It's well protected," he says. But Holleran fears for the dozens of Galveston Island residents he saw still sitting outside today. "Some of those poorer neighborhoods are well below sea level ," he says. "People are going to die there."
With Ike set to strike far away in Texas, iReporter cameramania can't believe the high surf pounding the sandy shores of the resort town of Destin, Florida. Just days before, she was seeing a similar scene with Gustav . This time around, she captured footage of crashing waves and high water near buildings and a shade structure near her home. While she's not too concerned about her own ability to weather the storm, she worries about residents directly in Ike's path. "Texas, you can forget boarding it up. The water is going to wash it all off. It pulls on the structures real bad. I hope those people last who live by the water and are staying out there." Is Ike affecting you? Send us your photos and video .
We received unprecedented video response to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, from full video packages to simple speech responses done on Webcams. together, they helped tell the whole story about the elections. Full CNN video packages were created to stitch together all these stories and tell the full story of what was going on. At the Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado, we found that in the words of videodoc , there was truly "something for everyone." Everything from costumed people to protests to, of course, political speeches. And, maddogza 's ongoing submissions about an FAA computer glitch and finally making it to the convention formed a frame for the whole story. In St. Paul, Minnesota, the Republican convention was no less eventful with incredible political discussion and a few protests. We even had conservative icon Ben Stein step up to the mobile iReport kit (our roving kiosk), and we got up-close looks at the scene from bloggers and politicians. Citizen journalism group TheUptake followed the protests closely. When news happens near you, particularly a big event, we encourage you to turn on your camera and show us what is going on and how you feel about it. Show us the big picture on our little computer screens.
Your photos, video and updates from Hurricane Ike are pouring in from across the Gulf Coast. iReport.com user cameramania said she's feeling the force four states away , in Destin, Florida. cherimor sent in photos of heavy traffic due to evacuations in Houston, Texas. And skitlz said fears of Ike's effects are resulting in gas restrictions and long lines at the pump in Ocala, Florida. You can check out the latest Gulf Coast iReports on our interactive map. And if you're feeling the effects of Ike, be sure to send in an iReport .
Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back! iReport.com received an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. That means your incredible contributions on this site were recognized by some of the top media minds in the country. A special thanks to the Knight Foundation and J-Lab for including iReport.com in this year's impressive list of honorees. Congratulations to this year's Grand Prize winner, Wired.com’s WikiScanner coverage, which helped readers investigate and expose ego-editing and corporate whitewashing of Wikipedia entries. And be sure to check out the other finalists and honorable mentions -- all incredible examples of innovative online journalism.
Hi iReport fans! As you know, we're always looking for fresh content on iReport.com. You can visit our Assignment Desk to see the latest topics in the news. Our assignments range from serious to fun -- we may ask for stories of living with cancer or photos of the craziest cubicle in your office -- and they're almost always tied to the news. But now we want to hear from you. What should we ask iReporters about next? Share you best assignment topics here. We're also holding this discussion on our iReport.com Facebook page . If you're a Facebook user, come say hi!
It was great to see three iReport superstars who go way back with iReport.com (WCNreporter , jbjimbo and marcusharun ), provide full coverage of Tropical Storm Hanna. Another superstar, jtown04 , covered the Red Bull soapbox race in Philadelphia during the storm as well, while superstar JimTalkcom has iReported from Florida on Fay , Gustav and Hanna , and fachphoto has shown the devastating effects of Gustav and Hanna on the Dominican Republic. We’d also like to welcome some new iReporters who reached superstar status thanks to their Hanna coverage. Congratulations to BennyM , cabarete808 , misael , mmsfreak789 , rakooneers and scubaandy ! Welcome everyone and thanks to all of our Hanna iReporters for top-notch work! Is Hurricane Ike heading for your neck of the woods? Are you evacuating or planning to ride out the storm? Share your photos and video , but please, stay safe out there!
lamichaela , one of our top iReporters, raised the bar a little higher today when she reported from the Third Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in Del Mar, California, this weekend. Her videos of dogs catching waves and dressed in beach attire featured music from the iReport toolkit. She chose the beachy tunes "Summer heat" and "Corndog shuffle" to accompany her footage. Our music selections are a great way to improve the quality of your video submissions, helping to establish a clear pace and tone. We own the rights to the tunes, which means we can feature your rockin' iReports on CNN and CNN.com. So go ahead and get creative! Show us how music can enhance your iReports.
After the success of our first-ever iReport debate last week, iReporters are at it again. Journalism students Jordan Sarver and Katy Brown went head-to-head over Sarah Palin's speech Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. The two debated Thursday afternoon by phone on CNN.com Live. Brown, a college freshman who plans to vote for Sen. John McCain, said Palin came across as harsh during her speech because she needed to stand up for herself and show that she could stand up for her country. Sarver, a Sen. Barack Obama supporter and journalism graduate student, didn't appreciate Palin's negative tone. He said the entire Republican convention was coming across as accusatory, while the atmosphere of the Democratic convention was "upbeat and hopeful." Brown and Sarver also weighed in on the mainstream media's coverage of the campaigns, and both seemed pleased. Sarver said what he had seen appeared to be fair, and Brown said "maybe we'll meet the real Sarah Palin" with the increased media coverage. You can watch their entire debate online at CNN.com/video . Will you be the next iReporter featured in a live debate? Keep sending videos of your thoughts on the presidential election, and you could be on CNN.com Live!
We are thrilled with the amount of video response we've received in response to the political convention speeches. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin drew a huge response and strong opinions from iReporters on Wednesday, just as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other high-profile Democratic speakers did last week . It's wonderful to see such a wide range of people sharing an even wider range of opinions. The enthusiastic response to Palin's speech prompted us to highlight your videos in this great video interactive . Even more of your thoughts were included in a front-page article on Palin's speech on CNN.com. We look forward to seeing more video commentary as John McCain takes the convention stage tonight.
iReporters from around the United States are weighing in on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's speech last night at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. But what do iReporters in Alaska think? You can see all their responses -- including one from Wasilla, Palin's hometown -- on the iReport map .
While we're talking about Twitter, we want to point out an interesting way one iReporter is using the service. Mark Mayhew rode out Hurricane Gustav in his Bourbon Street home and live-blogged about the experience on Twitter. After the storm passed, Mark walked around the French Quarter and posted his photos to iReport.com with a link to his Twitter page so the conversation could go on between the two sites We'd love to know how you are using Twitter in creative ways. Tell us about it.
iReport reached another exciting milestone yesterday. We welcomed our 1,000th follower on Twitter , a popular social networking site we use to keep folks aware of our latest assignments and breaking news. Twitter user GustavFaces was follower number 1,000. Major news events, including Hurricane Gustav and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions have introduced several new Twitter followers lately. We look forward to meeting the newcomers and getting updated on what's going on in their lives. If you're a Twitter user, be sure to say hello ! It's a fast and simple way to let iReport -- and the rest of the world -- know what's going on around you.
While we were all busy yesterday watching amazing Hurricane Gustav coverage unfold on iReport.com, our community passed yet another milestone: we're now 100,000 iReporters and counting. Congratulations, and welcome to our new members! We can't be exactly sure who was number 100,000, but it just might have been one of these standout new iReporters who joined us yesterday: * dennisbranch , who showed us rising flood waters in Hattiesburg, Mississippi , where he and his family had traveled to escape the path of Hurricane Gustav * greentour , who rode out the storm on a bus parked at an RV park in Orange Beach, Alabama * tammyco04 , who kept us updated on the effects of the storm in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and says she wants to have Anderson Cooper’s job some day. Best of luck to you, Tammy! J
iReport contributors all over the Gulf Coast are keeping us updated on the effects of Hurricane Gustav. You can see them all by location on the new iReport map , or head here to upload your own story.
Several iReporters who live in the Gulf Coast have decided to stay home and ride out Hurricane Gustav, and they've become part of CNN's television coverage of the storm, bringing live updates to CNN networks since last night. Cody Heitmeier , who waited out the storm in New Orleans, Louisiana, told CNN's Rick Sanchez that he has confidence in emergency officials. "They're not gonna' let down the city," he said. Another iReporter, Heather Says of Lafayette, Louisiana, explained to CNN.com Live that most of her neighbors opted to wait it out. And Meredith Carlson says she's staying in Baton Rouge, helping to evacuate pets from the path of the storm. Pretty amazing if you ask me -- field reporters and residents working together to show the rest of the world what's happening in the Gulf Coast as yet another hurricane barrels through.
All eyes are on New Orleans today, but Hurricane Gustav's powerful reach is affecting iReporters along the Gulf Coast. Dave Mungai lives in Gulf Breeze, Florida, about than 200 miles from the eye of the storm and is seeing 3-4 foot storm surge in his backyard. "We're not in any danger," he says. "I just wanted to share this video to show how far and wide the storm is affecting the Gulf Coast." From his fifth-story condo, Steve Olensky has a great vantage point of surging waves in Orange Beach, Alabama. Steve is riding out the storm with his family and dogs. If Gustav is affecting you, we want you to share your story , but please stay safe.
Last night I talked to iReporter James Carroll, a grad student at Tulane. Up until Sunday morning he'd been debating whether to stay or leave New Orleans. Around noon, he and a friend evacuated, passing boarded homes and National Guardsmen as they left the city. That night they reached Gulf Shores, Alabama. It "seems safer" he said, even as he snapped this image of Gustav looming off the coast . “I’m worried about NOLA.”