The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Fire trucks draped in black fabric roll by and fire department honor guard members stand motionless in a video from iReporter Rick Pennock. He attended the funeral procession of volunteer firefighter Dereck North, who died when his truck overturned while responding to a call Monday in Stockton, Georgia. North was one in a family of firefighters. His twin brother Chad was driving the fire truck that overturned and was injured in the accident. His wife Ruby was driving a second truck dispatched to the same call. Many community members showed their love and support for the family at the service, Pennock said. "Despite this tragedy, Ruby has shown us just how special the firefighting family is," wrote Pennock. He described the funeral service in great detail, and offered his condolences: "God Bless the North family. You truly are remarkable people." Pennock also included information about a memorial fund for North's family in his iReport. We're so pleased that Pennick shared North's story with iReport.com. Do you have an amazing story to share? Let us know.
tlewis3462 (real name: Patricia Lewis) and her husband lost their jobs, their money and might soon lose their home in foreclosure. Soon before President Obama's address to Congress earlier this week, she turned to iReport.com to tell her story. Speaking to CNN's Naamua Delaney via webcam on the day of the address, she said she has been extremely responsible with her money, but because her husband lost his job last year, they were unable to refinance their home. She says they are only living on her long-term disability. Other iReporters finding difficulties in this economy have shared their stories on iReport.com in recent weeks. Some of them, such as SavorySaver, were able to get advice directly from personal finance expert Suze Orman. Recently, austinchu asked 50 people in Austin, Texas, what they would do in a situation where they lost everything. Some found that they had a hard time coming up with an answer or even conceiving of such a thing. Some said they would turn to their religious beliefs. One was even a refugee from Hurricane Katrina, who was all too familiar with losing everything. In the meantime, we want to know if you're cutting back on your personal budget this year. Send us an iReport on video and let us know.
Pelosi's outfit was just one of many hot topics on Facebook during Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. CNN.com Live teamed up with the social networking site to allow users to watch the speech and share their thoughts via status updates with friends and others tuned in around the world. But Facebook wasn't the only place where people were discussing Obama's speech. We received several video commentaries on iReport.com, many of which praised the president for his take on the economy. "I thought it was exactly what the country needed to hear," said iReporter Mark Hooprich. "Very sober, yet uplifting talk from a president who appears to be in command and has a very clear idea of where he wants to take the country." The response to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who delivered the GOP reaction speech after Obama's address, wasn't nearly as warm. Sie Dozier said the Republican Party should stick to its "all-stars," like House Minority Leader John Boehner. "They, to me, better communicate their party's ideals ... more effectively than this new Bobby Jindal character." Did you watch the speeches last night? Join the conversation! Share your reaction on video and see what other iReporters had to say.
We want to try something a little different on the blog and give you a chance to talk to us about iReport.com.
So if you've got an idea to make the site better, a problem or concern you want help with or questions about how team iReport does things leave a comment below and we'll answer as many as we can.
This is an experiment, so we don't know how it's going to go, but hopefully we can have a little fun.
Thanks for the great response. We'll do it again soon.
We've gotten a lot of complaints recently about the rating system here at iReport.com and the so-called "One-star Bandits," who give low marks to iReporters they don't like.
The rating system is a great tool for iReporters to help surface the stories they think are important, but it's also being abused. We found that some people have created multiple accounts so that they could give stories more than one rating.
We've identified some of the biggest offenders and have removed them from the site and are continuing to work on the problem. One of the steps we're taking is to make sure that users only have one account, but this is a time consuming process.
You can help by deactivating any extra accounts you may have.
If you have any other questions, issues or concerns, we'd love to talk to you about it.
Join us here on the blog on Monday between 11a.m. and 1 p.m. ET and we'll answer as many questions as we can.
louieb1 (real name: Lou Baruta) shared one of the most stunning videos I have ever seen on iReport.com. His brother, Jim Baruta, captured the destruction of much of his neighborhood in Victoria, Australia. One of the wildfires which had ravaged the country blazed near him, and he kept the camera rolling as he sought shelter nearby in a bunker he had constructed. "It went pitch black, you couldn’t see after the fires hit," Jim Baruta said. After the fire passed, Baruta acted quickly to save as much of his home as he could. He believes only one other home in the neighborhood survived the fire. Baruta shared more of his story with CNN’s John Vause, as well as CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout. The virtual community of Second Life responded to the bush fires with sympathy for the victims. any1gynoid iReported on a Second Life benefit to raise money for the victims, and RNightfire shared the story of a song, first performed in Second Life, to pay tribute to those affected by the fires. Do you have photos or video of the bush fires or tributes to the victims? Share them with the iReport.com community.
seeitnow, from chilly Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of my favorite iReporters because he puts a personal spin on broad news topics. A few weeks ago, he sent a video showing the varying conditions of homes he visited in Phoenix and Scottsdale. The Western housing crisis is a current news focus and President Obama was just in Phoenix, Arizona, today. Some of the homes seeitnow found appeared to have been vandalized by their distraught owners before they left. He was looking at potentially getting a winter home in Arizona. I grew up near there and had a nice conversation with seeitnow about all the established neighborhoods and foreclosed homes left behind during the suburban housing boom. The housing video was just one example of the outstanding pieces he's done, including a story just a few days about his wife's international health efforts. She is a doctor and traveled to Guatemala last week on her own dime to provide medical services abroad. His video showed the hardships faced by people there seeking care. We've also seen cool iReports from seeitnow detailing his views on auto bailouts and oil companies and even some of the more offbeat sights to see in Paris. But he's perhaps best known for filming his daughter's "hard-hitting interview" with Santa Claus. Seeitnow is one of my favorite iReporters and I hope he'll be one of yours. Tell us what you think below, and share your own perspective on the news by sending an iReport.
A year ago today, iReport.com was born. Happy first, everybody! Today's a special day, of course, but here on Team iReport it feels like we've been celebrating all along the way. Like every time we look up from our computers and see an iReport video on TV that shares an important story with the rest of the world. Or when we spot an iReport photo that takes you right to the heart of the news. Or when we hear an iReporter driving home a point in a discussion on CNN.com Live. We think iReporters make the news richer and more interesting just about every day. But no matter how many times it happens, it's still pretty thrilling to see it in action. And in the spirit of camera-toting iReporters everywhere, we can't help but snap a digital photo every time we see it. So, in tribute to one incredible year, we thought we'd share some of our favorite snapshots. Here's to many, many more.
Today is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. As former presidents go, this one's an all-star. He totally rocked the Civil War era, bringing the nation together in a time of crisis. kristih documented President Lincoln, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, buying commemorative stamps of himself. This truly is a historic moment in time. It's interesting to look back at Lincoln's time, especially in light of the recent inauguration of the nation's first black president, and we're fascinated by the results of the Abraham Lincoln voice project. We asked you to try out uploading your version of Lincoln's second inaugural speech. You rose to the occasion and we couldn't be more excited. San Jose State University students read the speech, and the iReport kit made the rounds to track down some amateur orators. An aspiring president gave the assignment a try. And maybe coolest of all, we got some President Lincolns in the mix. User benderxr pulled out all the stops, doing his piece in full costume with black-and-white video. PunjabiPower, a Canadian, unleashed his inner Abe and we even got a tiny Lincoln from tgfe. So check out the lung-busting work they did, mixed into a nifty mashup video, and see all the stories that we looked through. Think you might have what it takes? Give it a shot and show us what you've got. Oh, and comment below and tell us which of the Lincolns above is your favorite.
When iReporter Anthony Trigilio heard the Continental Airlines plane crash near his Clarence Center, New York, home late Thursday, he acted quickly. Trigilio grabbed his video camera and drove over to the scene, where he captured footage of the massive flames. He immediately uploaded his video to iReport.com and shared his story minutes afterward with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Trigilio described the chaotic scene of loud sirens, countless emergency responders and emotional onlookers. "All I saw was flames," he said. "It was just a big fireball."
From CNN's Danielle Gallagher: With all of the layoffs, lots of people are starting over. Some are even starting their own businesses. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and lots of research, iReporter SSpurlock (real name: Sheri Spurlock) opened a glove boutique in 2008. The “glove gal” shared her story with iReport.com and admits that starting your own business is not that easy in a tough economy. It was a risk, but in this niche market, her glove shop is doing well. Spurlock spoke to Fredricka Whitfield in the CNN Newsroom this past Sunday. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit or a re-invention story, please share it with us!
dpkronmiller and kbrown0419 were quite outspoken during the 2008 election, and now that the Obama administration has begun, they still have a lot to say. The two shared their thoughts on President Obama’s first primetime news conference with CNN’s Nicole Lapin last night. “The one thing that bugs me the most is federal employees getting (a new fleet of) cars,” said kbrown0419. “I don’t see how environmentally-friendly cars for federal employees (create jobs).” She says she would give Obama’s performance at the news conference a B-. “When we’re talking about the stimulus bill and buying things, it’s money that circulates back into the economy,” said dpkronmiller. He went on to say that some of the so-called “pork” spending could conceivably be postponed and not used in this bill. He followed up with an iReport in which he said he would give Obama’s performance a B+ for lack of brevity. What do you think about Obama’s press conference and his economic stimulus package? Share your thoughts on video.
Speaking of traveling iReporters, nealmoore has been iReporting for several months from Taipei, Taiwan, most recently on the trial of the former Taiwanese president. For the past couple of weeks, however, he’s done a little traveling and decided to take iReport with him. He first stopped by Port Alberni, British Columbia, to see how the economy was affecting this small town. Speaking to everyone from business owners to the mayor, nealmoore really got an idea of what makes the residents of this “mill town” remain positive, despite declining fortunes. He was particularly struck by one homeless man greeting another with the words “keep surviving.” He made a quick stop (and iReport) in San Francisco, California, and then spent a week in New Orleans, Louisiana. With Mardi Gras just around the corner, he asked residents, retail workers and restaurant staff to share their thoughts on the upcoming festivities and whether or not they would be affected by the recession. Are you planning a trip soon? Take iReport with you and ask local citizens you come across for their economic survival stories.
Imagine you've just gotten laid off, which might not be much of a stretch of your imagination in this time of layoffs and so-called "staycations." But blogger austinchu of Newport Beach, California, is using his unexpected time off to embark on a countrywide tour he calls "The Recess Ends." He's packing his things and his brother into a vegetable-oil-powered car to travel and find out how the economy is affecting local folks. He's also practicing his blogging and media production skills. We've seen newsy trips iReported in the past, like DavidMcLane's "Red states, blue road" project and a San Jose State University trip to the inauguration, and we're interested in seeing how this turns out. After getting into an accident shortly after a first attempt at departure, austinchu has taken off. The first stop was Las Vegas, Nevada, where he and his brother took photos of foreclosed homes. They'll be headed to many other places around the country including Detroit, Michigan, and other areas hit hard by the economy. The goal is to see where they can find the cheap food waste the car uses as fuel and document the state of the country at the same time. Other iReporters seconded austinchu and told us they're not taking this recession lying down. Frequent iReporter dpkronmiller put together a video the day after he lost his job and laid out the complex feelings he had about the uncertainty in his life. He vowed to tell us the story of his personal journey and to try to learn about himself as he goes through the process of economic recovery alongside the country. And PerkTV is working lots of odd jobs to keep his income coming, including making cooking videos and selling green screens. We're hearing lots of stories from people who are surviving and trying to make sure they're thriving. How are you making the most of the bad economy? Are you traveling? Share your stories and comment below.
We've had more than 25,000 new members join iReport.com so far this year. We want to welcome all of you and thank you for being a part of our community.
We'd also like encourage you to introduce yourself.
You can do that by filling out your profile page and by posting your own image to replace our generic, gray avatar image.
And if you've been here for a while, this would be a great time to flesh out your profile too!
You might find that you have more in common with other users than you think.
Thanks and we look forward to meeting you.
From CNN's Danielle Gallagher: Walter Kerschbaum says his love for clocks saved him. After he lost his job in the financial industry two years ago, he opened his own clock and watch repair shop. Two years out, he is turning some profit and happily works in his Hartsdale, New York shop. Kerschbaum read an iReport about a young woman in danger of being evicted after losing her job. He decided to share his story with the hopes that just one person would read his post and find their own solution to being unemployed. Kerschbaum spoke with Melissa Long in the CNN Newsroom about his experience. Kerschbaum's story shows that losing a job can be an opportunity. If you have an economic success story like Kerschbaum's, please share it with us!
It’s Groundhog Day, and inspired by the classic movie of the same name, we asked you which day you would like to re-live. We received a big response, and learned about some of the most important days in your lives, for better or worse. Many of you told us about the days that were so great, you wish you could do them again. njordan29335 says she would re-live September 27, 2007, the day she became a mother. “I would take the pain and all just to be lost in those moments again… to hear her cry, to see her for the very first time... nothing else in this world could feel that good.” cannikin13 would re-do any day during his three-week sail across the Atlantic Ocean. “The rat race of our cities, the news, politics, wars over territory and cultural clashes we were used to seeing on a daily basis all become irrelevant out there. It was a complete daily breath of fresh air.” One iReporter has a very clear memory of May 29, 1964, but would still like to do it again. That was the date when birdseed got a "shout-out" from musical legend Johnny Cash. “I wrote on a coaster that it was my Dad's birthday and left it on the bandstand where Johnny was performing. Before I sat down he said ‘Is there a Bob Loughlin here tonight?’ We waved and Johnny said ‘Happy Birthday, Bob!’" Other iReporters would like to revisit a day that they wish had gone differently. CrazyCueball, for example, wishes he had not voted for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on November 7, 2006. “Corruption allegations had already begun to surface. I certainly should have known better.” ShadHawg shared a photo of himself in his high school football uniform shot on October 12, 1978, “the worst day of my life.” He made a tackle which accidentally broke his best friend’s arm. He felt extremely guilty when visiting his friend in the hospital that night, but he was forgiven. and they are still friends to this day. babycakes81 wishes she had warned her husband about what was going to happen on March 30, 2007. That was the day he was wounded by a rocket while serving in Iraq, “the rocket that changed my life.” The couple is now living in Sierra Vista, Arizona where he’s recovering. “I’m so thankful that he came back home.” Whether it’s a day you’d like to experience again, or a day you would like to change, we want to know what day in your life you want to do over. Upload your photos and video now!