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We love machinima, postcards from Second Life and news of a virtual world. Since our SL iReports continue to stream in on a regular basis and excitement is still as strong as ever over news of the virtual kind, we thought we'd say thanks to everyone with a party to celebrate this growing network of 3-D citizen journalists. We cordially invite you to join us at the iReport hub on CNN iReport Island as we celebrate our bigger, better space in style. Come join us for dancing, games, multimedia, fun and some special guests. We'll be out Tuesday, February 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SLT (that's noon to 6 p.m. ET), ready to greet visitors to the hub. Come hang out with us and relax with your fellow citizen journalists and SL iReport staff. Don't forget to join us each Tuesday at 2 p.m. SLT (5 p.m. ET) for our weekly news chat. (We're looking at some possible new times for meetings, so comment below to let us know if you have suggestions for the timing, topics or anything else.) Check out the SL iReports at ireport.com/secondlife. Hope to see you there!
If you're a regular visitor to iReport.com, you've probably seen several political videos from PurpleStates. And if you're not familiar, you should definitely check them out. Purple States' slogan is "people powered, professionally produced." They're a new media company that gathers content from citizen journalists like you, edits their videos and interviews, and delivers those packages to major media outlets. Their pieces offer unique perspectives from people living across the United States, and we're thrilled that Purple States shares their pieces with the iReport.com community. Be sure to check out their latest installment -- 50 bloggers representing each state give their advice to President Barack Obama. It's a creative and witty look at the United States and what its citizens hope the Obama administration will achieve.
If you're driving around and hear a familiar voice on the radio, it might be you or one of your fellow iReporters. CNN Radio is sending iReport material to more than 1,500 affiliates in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand Aruba and Newfoundland. They recently cut together some of your favorite movie lines into a quick sound bite and shared your reactions to President Barack Obama's inauguration. We thought it was pretty cool that CNN's not just watching your videos; it's listening to them too.
iReport film festival winners ZFProduction and Reelblack were sent to Washington to witness the inauguration, and of course, their video cameras never left their sides. All of them documented what they encountered there. ZFProduction took a tour of CNN’s Washington bureau, captured the joyous emotions of the crowd during President Obama’s swearing-in and speech, and wrapped it all up with a great view of the inaugural parade while meeting the Best Political Team on Television. Reelblack focused on some of the people he met on his trip to Washington, like Deborah Bryan, a homeless woman staying just a few short blocks from the National Mall, as well as a man who created his own Obama puppet. After the inauguration, he interviewed CNN’s Don Lemon for his take on the events of the day. Check out all of Reelblack's short films on the inauguration here. So many of you shared your unique view of the historical day. If you have photos or video to share, now’s the time to upload!
Remember when we asked you to capture a photo as Barack Obama took the oath of office for our photosynth on Tuesday? Well, the final version of the photosynth has been completed -- and we've actually ended up with three of them, all spectacular. The first one, made up of over 600 photos, combines iReport shots with CNN professional images to create an incredibly detailed photosynth of the moment President Obama took the oath. If you were among the 1.5 million people on the mall, there's a pretty decent chance you'll be able to find yourself in it. The other two photosynths are made up entirely of iReport photos! One shows Obama taking the oath as it was seen from the mall, and the other shows iReporters from around the world watching the moment on television. These stunning images are a testament to your hard work and dedication.Check them out and give yourselves a pat on the back -- you did an incredible job of documenting history.
While millions of people watched Barack Obama become president on Tuesday, about 5,000 -- who were supposed to have a great view of the inauguration -- missed the big moment. These 5,000 people had tickets to the inauguration, but never made it past the security gates. Many stood in line for up to six hours. Among them were several iReporters, who sent photos and video footage of huge masses of people waiting anxiously outside the gates. They weren't entirely sure what caused the back-up, but most attributed to a simple lack of organization and direction amongst officials. We told their stories on CNN television and CNN.com -- check out our CNN.com piece here. This story might have been lost in the plethora of inauguration events that took place on Tuesday were it not for your iReports. Thank you for bringing it to our attention! This is just another great example of how important iReport is to telling stories that matter. Keep letting us know if you think there's something we should be covering -- remember, CNN is listening, and we heard you loud and clear on this one.
While you as iReporters were documenting history yesterday, you also made history. You uploaded more than 11,000 photos and videos to iReport.com, smashing the previous record of more than 5,000 from Election Day. Plus, you sent in iReports from all seven continents, including a cruise ship in Antarctica. We used your iReports on almost all of CNN's platforms, including CNN US, CNN International, HLN, CNN.com Live, and of course CNN.com. Your photos and videos showed the inauguration from almost every viewpoint on the mall in Washington, D.C., and also from many different viewpoints around the world. They were crucial to helping CNN tell the stories of how people around the United States and the world experienced this historic day. Thank you so much for sharing them! We stayed up late last night to create this fast-paced video of many of your inauguration photos. Check it out to see some different views of history in the making -- and thank you, again, for making history yourselves.
It's been a big day for the United States, no doubt about that, and for many people around the world. But for some iReporters, today has been action-packed in more ways than one. Matt Brighton proposed to his girlfriend at noon in the Bahamas. He purposefully timed it to coincide with President Obama's inauguration, making it an extra-special day for him and his now fiancee, Jenny Noel. Marc Bruyere experienced a different kind of surprise. His wife went into pre-term labor. The couple, who both voted for Obama, ended up at the hospital, where they watched Obama take the oath of office and give his inaugural address. Fortunately, doctors were able to stop the labor (the baby isn't due until March), and Marc and his wife are now home. Are you experiencing the inauguration in a unique way? Tell us about it!
At 12:05 p.m. ET today, thousands of people simultaneously raised their cameras and phones to capture the moment when President Barack Obama took the oath of office. It was possibly the most photographed moment in history. And, as we told you a few days ago, CNN and iReport teamed up with Microsoft Photosynth in hopes of creating the most stunningly detailed image possible of these historic few seconds. Well, the photosynth has been created, and it's incredible. Photosynth experts combined your photos from the inauguration with those from CNN photographers. The result is a panoramic, zoomable image that captures the inauguration from every angle and viewpoint. Zoom in close to see Obama raise his hand, or stay further out to get a glimpse of what the view was like from various spots on the mall. You'll be prompted to install a quick plugin (Microsoft Silverlight) if you don't already have it, but it's quick and I promise it's worth it. This amazing image wouldn't have been possible without your iReport photos - thank you! And keep sending them in!
C.C. Chapman is one of the many people who watched today's inauguration on a new and different way - on CNN.com Live with Facebook. CNN.com Live teamed up with Facebook to let users watch the inauguration ceremonies live while updating their Facebook status and watching the status updates of their friends. C.C. filmed a great video demonstrating how the system works and explaining why it's so cool. "I think it's a game changer," he said by phone. "It was game changing for the campaign. It's kinda cool that I can share the experience with my friends around the world right now." You can try it out by watching the rest of today's festivities on CNN.com Live with Facebook. Let us know what you think!
Sarah Bouker, who lives in Washington, D.C., headed down to the mall this morning to try to get a spot to view the inauguration. She says the crowds were insane - "people from the back were starting to shout 'let us in,'" she remembers - and eventually gave up and headed home to watch the inauguration on TV. But on her way back, she spotted a moving scene that "almost brought a tear to my eye." Sarah looked up and saw a man standing in the window of the John L. Young Shelter for the Homeless. He was waving an American flag and several roses. "In contrast to the crowds below he seemed quite serene," said Sarah. "But like the crowds below he was excited for the events that were going to take place." She says he was happily shouting to the people below, saying things like "change is coming" and "bless you." Sarah's iReport sums it up well: "It reminded me that this day unites not only black and white but rich and poor as we all share the same hope for a better, more unified America," she wrote.
It's a given that most people in the United States are glued to their TV screens right now, as President Barack Obama just took the oath of office. But the rest of the world is watching, too. We're receiving iReports from all around the globe. A group of college students studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco, sent this photo of themselves gathered to watch the ceremony. "We had to beg to be able to set the television up and we are so glad we are able to watch," they wrote in their iReport. In Mexico, people gathered at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara are crowded around a TV and sent this picture. Marsha Narayan is watching in Guyana and says "we're all glued in to the broadcast." Randy Guillen of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, watched and loved Obama's speech. "This is a great day for the planet," he said. All the way from the Netherlands, Natascha van Wezel says she can feel the atmosphere of "peace and love." She sent this photo and said "I wanted to let CNN know that here in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, we are also watching CNN for the new president of the USA." The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, a small two-island nation in the West Indies, even recorded a short congratulatory message to the new president. iReporter Charles Jong recorded and sent in Prime Minister Denzil L. Douglas's video message for Obama. People from the United States, Cameroon, Germany, and the Netherlands celebrated the inauguration together in Bamenda, Cameroon. "It was one of the first times I could say in the past couple years I felt so proud to be an American," said Catinette Harrington, who is living and working abroad in Cameroon. Nigerian journalists cheered as they watched Obama's speech on TV. "It's a good day in Africa," said Juliana Taiwo. "It was a moment to be a part of, even if we were miles away," said Diego Hernandez, who watched the inauguration with his family in El Salvador. "I feel happy to be alive right now." Keep the photos coming, y'all! We want to know how you're experiencing history. And check out all the inauguration iReports on our map - they really are coming in from across the globe!
Most of us are either imagining or experiencing what it's like to be in Washington, D.C. today for Barack Obama's inauguration. Insane crowds, long lines, excitement in the air. Well, that may be the case down at the mall, but Yassir Islam has another view for us. Check out his iReport from another part of D.C. -- the U Street corridor. It's about a mile from the Capitol and usually a hopping area. But today, it's utterly deserted as residents flock to the mall to try to catch a glimpse of the inauguration (or at least watch it on a giant screen). Yassir says he hadn't planned on going to the inauguration, but this morning, something hit him and he decided to bike to the mall to see it. "It's one of those things that, 10 or 20 years from now, I'll regret not going," he said. Got a unique view of the inauguration?Send your photos and video!
This is it! Barack Obama has just been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. iReporters in Washington, D.C. and from across the country are telling the story on CNN and HLN. Here are a few of the highlights from D.C.: Sanjida Karim talked to CNN.com Live about how difficult it was for her to get to the National Mall, even before the sun came up. Listen to her interview and get an idea of what it was like and why it was worth it. Bryan Martin was outside Ben's Chili Bowl, a Washington landmark, yesterday. Check out his interviews with excited inauguration attendees that aired on CNN.com Live. Thomas Rohe attended Sunday night's "We are One" concert at the Lincoln Memorial and talks with CNN.com Live's Virginia Cha about what it's like to be in Washington. Remember those three guys who were biking to the inauguration? HLN's Richelle Carey caught up with them yesterday, and they told her all about their journey and the atmosphere in D.C. Andrew Roszak lives near the National Mall in Washington. He talked with CNN.com Live's Nicole Lapin about the crowds at Sunday's concert and the excited atmosphere that continues to envelop D.C. A group of iReporters from around the country got together to document each of their journeys to D.C. for the inauguration. They told their story to HLN's Chuck Roberts. Also be sure to keep up with our interactive map on CNN.com! We're posting iReport photos, video, and stories - along with CNN content - from all over Washington. Use the map to see dozens of views of the inauguration or share your own. And keep checking the iReport blog - we'll be updating throughout the day to show the many ways that you all are documenting today's historic moments.
iReport.com was a lively place Saturday morning, as photos and videos from people all along the route of President-elect Barack Obama's pre-inauguration train tour lit up the homepage. The train ride was an historic event, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect people who witness it first-hand to photograph and share. What we didn't exactly expect were the number of photos posted on iReport.com of the train tour as shown on CNN. To be perfectly honest, at first I thought they might be some kind of joke. Why would people send photos of CNN to CNN? But then I started to read the comments with them: "Not there but hey still exciting," and "Hello! Just some pictures from New Brunswick, Canada ... you folks are doing a neat thing." You didn't have to travel to the northeastern U.S. to take part in the train tour; you could watch at home and still be part of the excitement on iReport.com. Here's hoping the inauguration on Tuesday is no different. Whether you're making the trip to Washington or are watching the events from afar, share your story here on iReport.com. Let us know how you're watching and what it means to you.
It will likely be the most photographed moment in history: the moment Barack Obama takes the oath of office. CNN is teaming up with Microsoft Photosynth to create the most stunningly detailed image possible of this historical moment, but it won't be possible without your help as iReporters. Are you one of the millions attending the inauguration? We need your help to document this incredible moment in history. Here's what you do:
1. Take one photo of the moment when Obama takes the oath. If you have a digital camera with a zoom lens, take three photos (wide-angle, mid-zoom, full-zoom).
2. E-mail each photo as soon as possible to email@example.com (one photo per message, 10MB size limit). Don't forget to include your name in the message if you'd like to appear in the list of the contributors. Please only send in photos you took yourself.
3. Go to cnn.com/themoment to see all of the photos in our photosynth!
And what exactly is a photosynth? It's an image that uses ordinary digital photographs to create amazingly detailed, 3D spaces.
We'll combine the images you send in from every angle with images from CNN's professional photographers to create what we hope will be a breathtaking, detailed experience. You can learn more about photosynth and how it works at Photosynth.com. And don't forget to email in your inauguration photos, because it won't be possible without you!
I arrived home a couple days ago to a Facebook message from an old friend. She wanted to tell me about three guys she knows from college who are biking to Barack Obama's inauguration. They're traveling all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C. -- about 277 miles -- and don't even know where they're going to sleep once they arrive (they say they've brought all-weather camping gear with them). She ended her message with a half-joking "You should, like, totally put it on CNN, lol!" Well, thanks to iReport.com, you don't have to know anyone in the news business to share your story with the world. I messaged her back and asked her to tell her cyclist friends about iReport. The next day, I arrived at work to find that not only had they submitted an iReport, but they'd already been contacted by CNN and HLN producers and were going to be interviewed on HLN! I'd had nothing to do with it -- other producers spotted the great story and snapped it up on their own. And it is a great story -- check out their iReport. Matt Watts, Matt Huffman, and Darryl Jones are biking to D.C., they say, to harness the energy they felt during and after the election. They're also doing it to highlight an environmentally friendly way to travel and a way to sacrifice during tough economic times. The group headed out yesterday and hopes to pick up additional riders along the way, arriving in Washington in time for the inauguration on Tuesday. You may not be biking to the inauguration, but we want to know what you ARE doing. Will you be on the mall in Washington? Watching with family and friends at home? Or maybe you'll be in one of the cities where Obama's train will stop on its way to D.C. for the inauguration? Whatever it is, keep sending your photos to iReport.
We often talk about how important you, as iReporters, are to CNN's news coverage. Perhaps nothing demonstrates that better than breaking news situations. And as you all know, we had one of those yesterday, with the U.S. Airways plane crash in the Hudson River. iReporters from Manhattan and New Jersey saw the scene unfold, and kept CNN viewers up-to-date with everything that happened, as it happened. Julie Pukelis and her coworkers watched the plane descend and land in the water from the top floor of their Manhattan office, using a telescope to get a closer look. Julie thought quickly and put her camera up to the telescope, capturing two amazing close-up images of the rescue. She sent them to iReport on a coworker's suggestion. Minutes later she was live on CNN's The Situation Room, describing the situation to Wolf Blitzer by telephone as her photos illustrated the scene on-screen. Lou Romansky of Hackensack, New Jersey, provided details of the crash to CNN.com/live. As he was heading home, he got stuck in New York traffic -- and little did he know, that provided him with the perfect vantage point to see the plane descend over the Hudson. He took pictures of it just before it landed in the water and sent them into iReport. We contacted Lou by phone and he did a live interview with Nicole Lapin on CNN.com/live, telling viewers about the "graceful" landing and his nervous thought that it might be another terrorist attack on New York. (Officials emphasize that the crash had absolutely no terrorist connection.) These are just two of the many amazing iReporters who played a crucial role in yesterday's coverage. You shared your photos and details about the crash with CNN not only on iReport.com, but also via Twitter, Flickr, email and phone. A big thank you to everyone who helped keep us -- and the world -- up-to-the-minute with everything that happened.
The 2009 presidential inauguration will be especially significant to a group of San Jose University students. On their way to Washington D.C., the students are taking a road trip and real-life history lesson through the Deep South -- from Memphis, Tennessee, through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Carolinas. Professor Michael Cheers calls the project "44 Years to the 44th President: Connecting our History to America’s Historic Past." The title refers to the 44 years since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act passed just a year before that. Cheers' background as a former University of Mississippi professor made him think his Californian students could benefit from exposure to a different region of the country, and he wanted them to appreciate the meaning of the United States electing its first black president. Along the way, student jallegri has uploaded video projects the students have produced. One piece includes an interview of one of the witnesses of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine hotel in Memphis. Another touches on the 1955 killing of young Emmett Till. The boy's body was found battered beyond recognition and was later displayed in an open casket so the world could see the shocking horror of the crime. Cheers' class visited the "decrepit" Bryant Grocery Store to see the current state of the Money, Mississippi, civil rights landmark where Till allegedly took an ill-fated dare to flirt with the store owner's wife. The students documented their experiences in a behind-the-scenes video and even created another production in which they speak with an investigative journalist who has looked into civil rights murder cases. "I felt like coming up with this tour and stopping and doing the kind of stories we were doing, the students were getting a better example of what's going on in this country," Cheers said. Cheers told me hands-on experiences are the way he likes to teach. Over the years, he's moved from teaching strict photojournalism to including video in the curriculum. The quest for experiences in learning has taken his classes to far-flung places such as South Africa and Mexico. Students have also documented devastation in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also has sojourns to London and Paris on the schedule. "That's how I teach," Cheers explained. "I am not just a classroom teacher who stands behind the podium with the bow tie and the sport jacket." The students on this trip are moving from place to place and editing videos with Final Cut Pro on the laptops they take with them. By traveling and even sending iReports, students get to learn "the importance of making deadlines and pitching stories and getting it done right." "They're up until 3 or 4 in the morning in their hotel rooms," Cheers said. "That's OK. They can sleep next month." He wants the students to understand how the field works. The global element is key. "This is not a 9-to-5 business," he said matter-of-factly. He's doing something poignant by trying to show the students the context of the inauguration they're about to witness, and he's also exposing them to field production and citizen journalism. For young scholars looking to build their reserves of experience, this has to be a journey they'll never forget. They'll probably never forget to put it on their resumes, either. So now we turn to you to share your story. What does Obama's presidency mean to you? And tell us in the comments below what you think about the students' trip and their involvement in citizen journalism. Are you going to the inauguration, too? We'd like to hear from you as a historic moment in time approaches.
iReporters have certainly gone above and beyond lately when it comes to some of our recent assignments, and here are just a few examples. We asked for artistic representations of President-elect Barack Obama, but we didn’t quite expect so much amazing creativity. herbwilliams’ sculpture of Obama in crayons was months in the making, and it wasn’t his first crayon sculpture either. TedStanke made an Obama portrait, quite literally, with (spare) change. He shared some more of his artwork with the iReport.com community, such as a sliced money sculpture on the ongoing financial crisis, as well as eight years’ worth of pieces commenting on the Bush Administration. After “Facebook’s War on Nipples” took iReport.com by storm, PhilHansen followed up with “a poem and a little art” to comment on the Bush legacy. Who knew paint-loaded shoes might be involved in the creation of his latest work? When iReporters were asked to reflect on their “first album love” over the weekend, rosehips stepped up to the plate and paid tribute to Bob Dylan by re-creating a film clip of the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Salsteels loves to rock out to Van Halen and did just that with a four-frame introduction to his iReport on their album, “1984.” We love seeing this creativity on iReport.com and can’t wait to see more of it! Do you have a unique take on some of our assignments? Fire up that camera and show us what you’ve got! Meanwhile, check out TedStanke’s interview on HLN here!
Would you go head-to-head with CNN's top economic expert on an economic stimulus plan? How about live on the air? Fearless iReport superstar Zennie Abraham did. After submitting an iReport suggesting a taxpayer stimulus package, he discussed his plan with CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi on CNN.com/live. Velshi said the plan -- which calls for a $3,500 stimulus check to those making less than $100,000 a year -- was not targeted enough to work. But Zennie courageously defended his idea. "I disagree, with all due respect," he said to Velshi. "$3,500, particularly for college students or their parents, can help pay for their housing. For a person who's older, that could help pay their mortgage. ... You have to have time for the other aspects of President Obama's programs to work. The idea with this proposal is to buy time for those programs to kick in. I'm not saying that this is a cure-all. It works as part of a package." And, after hearing the explanation, Velshi started to agree. "In that context, I can understand that. If we are creating jobs, and we are helping people out with their mortgages, as an added extra, that could work," he said. Nicely done, Zennie! You really held your own. What do you think about the country's fiscal future? Do you think President-elect Obama can help fix the economy? Put yourself on video like Zennie did and upload your thoughts.
Congratulations to yorksnbeans for making the one millionth comment on iReport.com! You loyal commenters have come a long way since the early days of the site. Comments have added to some of the stories on iReport.com in a big way, offering help and encouragement to other iReporters and oftentimes sparking thoughtful and passionate discussions. We've seen comments used in some compelling ways on the site. Just recently, commenters offered support and comfort to iReporters who shared their stories of losing a child. "Thank you all who have read this and those who have made comments," wrote EthansAngel. "We received so much love and support from people we didn't even know." Same-sex marriage and the passage of Proposition 8 in California elicited more comments than any other topic on iReport.com. A lively, lengthy debate ensued after iReporters watched protesters clashing at a clerk's office where same-sex couples were getting married, and a gay-rights demonstration outside a Mormon Temple in Los Angeles. As natural disasters struck, iReporters in affected areas were there to share their experiences. When gas shortages hit Georgia last year, iReporters commented on their progress (or lack thereof) in finding gasoline anywhere. And during and after the election, iReporters formed strong friendships through comments, and some people who didn’t always agree on politics found common ground. These are just a few examples of the many great ways comments have contributed to iReport.com. Here's to the next million!
Where do you even begin with a topic like this? Phil Hansen's wonderfully provocative iReport is a response to a controversial Facebook policy regarding exposed nipples in profile pictures. Breastfeeding mothers, in particular, have been up in arms because they do not feel feeding a baby is obscene. Hansen's first post here has become one of the most popular stories ever submitted on the site. The production features a time-lapse of him making a mosaic photo of himself out of tiny pictures of his own (male) nipples. He even posted a follow-up video after he says the nipple profile shot was taken down. The story is part of a series of news-related art pieces he is planning to create under the banner "Art Happenings." We were so proud of our community when we saw how the subject matter was received. A thought-provoking discussion about public versus private space was taking place on iReport.com. Those who disagreed with the content spoke out and made their feelings known, and many folks rallied around Hansen's story and spoke out about their feelings. The cheeky topic served as a vehicle to get ideas to the masses, and the footage itself made for an interesting few minutes if nothing else. When else will you see a grown man with six nipples? On that note, we hope to see what interesting stories you have, um, up your sleeves. Are you planning to do a newsy art project of your own? What subjects and suggestions do you have in mind after viewing Hansen's piece? Please share your thoughts with us and tell your side of the story.
Being able to see glorious pictures of space is something we take for granted. Nowadays, Star Treks are hardly science fiction. iReporters have been posting stories to share their excitement about the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei's use of the first astronomical telescope. This event is recognized and celebrated through the designation of 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. Kudos go to NightSkyGuy for being the first one to post about it, and additional props go out to MarieSager (who lives near Griffith Park Observatory) for reaching out to other iReporters and asking them to share photos of observatories and other space-related subjects. We've seen a number of pictures popping up of observatories such as Urania Observatory in Vienna, Austria, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where Pluto was discovered. We even got a photo of an International Year of Astronomy banner at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (thanks joanniebalon) and pretty pictures of Hayden Planetarium in New York from sjunat55, not to mention several comets and other astronomical phenomena. Are you pumped about stargazing? This would be the right year to dive into it. Share your photos and videos of space on iReport.com and kick off the new year in style.
If you’ve looked in our blog archives lately, you may notice that some of the images have gone missing. Unfortunately, during a review of some images used on CNN.com, a good number of them were deleted. We just wanted to say that we’re sorry about this, but the blog posts themselves are still archived on the site like they were before. And don’t worry, the iReport.com blog is already on its way to being better than ever in 2009!
That's cool as in icy, freezing, way too cold to be outside. James Brierton, star iReporter and first-ever iReport summer intern, spent New Years Eve working the roving iReport kiosk in New York’s Times Square. That's James in the photo with Anderson Cooper and CNN producer Aspen Steib. (How cold was it? Accuweather says 18 degrees Fahrenheit. James put it like this on his Facebook page: "I had no feeling in three fingers and my face.") The iReport kiosk James was tending is a computer with a webcam and some software that uploads videos straight to iReport. We use it to collect first-person commentary from people in the middle of a news event; in this case, folks in the middle of a giant freezing street party. Here’re some of the videos James helped capture. Later this week we’re sending an iReport kiosk to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re going, stop by and record an iReport. (By the way - if you're a storyteller, an iReporter and a student who'd like to be the next iReport summer intern, stay tuned for details here on the iReport blog. Meantime, keep sending those iReports.)
Many of us have day-to-day gripes, but there’s just something special about putting them to song with a few dozen of your closest friends. The Philadelphia Complaint Choir made its iReport.com debut over the holidays with a surprisingly catchy tune about New Jersey drivers, being put on hold by customer service and other complaints. iReporter ceceliasmith shared this video and says that the idea, which actually started in Finland, has taken off worldwide. The NYU student is working on a documentary about the phenomenon and why it has been so well-received. The iReport.com community has had a lot to say about it. Ailina wrote: “I think this is a fantastic way to vent frustration (and create art at the same time)! It sure beats honking your horn, verbally assaulting a customer service rep, or burning up cell phone minutes complaining to a friend who doesn't want to be dumped on. If there were a complaint choir near me, I'd join in a heartbeat!” Studio1203 says: “Bad things happen in life, you deal with it and move on. No one wants to hear you complain. Interesting concept though!” Love it or hate it, this choir certainly elicits a strong reaction. Check it out here. And if you know of any other offbeat events or groups like this, tell us all about them here!
More is often merrier when it comes to iReporters. We have seen a couple neat iReport collaborations that have blown our minds and opened up the floodgates for the creative possibilities. PunjabiPower sends us a mashed-up mixture of short videos from four other iReporters and we just can't get enough of it. The production value is impressive, ranging from the creative setups and costumes to the fireworks at the beginning and end. If you're not feeling festive after watching this video, I don't know what to tell you. This video reminds us of the fantastic production that started the trend, a 12-person tag team of citizen-journalism-y goodness created by none other than teen sensation maddogza. During election season, he wrangled all those iReporters together and got them all to ask the public to "be heard" in the historic 2008 election. So we hope these videos give you some inspiration whether you're feeling excited or a little stumped. We encourage you to connect with other iReporters and collaborate with friends. You never know, something magical could happen. Check out our assignment desk to see if there are any stories that fit your bill.