Blog : March 2009
Good news from a bad economy »

Amid news of unemployment rates and struggling businesses, it's nice to hear some positive stories from the workplace from time to time. infoaddict, who shared several job hunt stories on iReport.com and formed a strong support group as a result, is happy to report that she found a job.

 

Even though she's now employed, infoaddict hasn't stopped sharing videos. She sat down with her boss on the first day of her new job and asked him why she was qualified for the position. The coolest part? Her experience with iReport.com helped her land the job.

 

"I've told you how important it was for me to get focused and confident through using a Web cam," she said. "iReporting took it just that much further because I got feedback from all of you."

 

Thanks to infoaddict for brightening our day with such wonderful news. Do you have a economic success story? Let us know .

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katie
// March 31, 2009
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Posted in: stories
The most fun you can have in the dark... »

Imagine the lights of major cities around the world suddenly plunged into darkness for an hour. Sound like the demented plan of a crazed super villain? More like Saturday night's observation of Earth Hour, a symbolic gesture to raise awareness of global climate change.

 

On a macro level, iReporters showed us landmarks and skylines going dark. TiagoFM captured the Eiffel Tower in the dark, while Kaaxz showed us before-and-after pictures of a castle in Stockholm, Sweden. Elsabe showed us Cape Town , South Africa, and we saw Dubai , United Arab Emirates, from sharadagarwa . Inside the U.S., we saw expatnyc 's footage of New York going dark (and PHAmanNYC 's assertion that it was a bit of a bust), MarieSager 's photos of the event in Los Angeles and NakedBoyNews ' images of Las Vegas , Nevada.

 

On a more micro level, ordinary folks grabbed their video cameras and took us into their candlelit households. TechyMom documented her hour without power in southern Atlanta, Georgia, on a video that gives a blow-by-blow view of an evening of eating ice cream by candlelight. (This was only for an hour, after all.) ChrisMorrow visited the W Hotel in San Diego, California, to watch the "W" darkened, and then went home to film her husband Marty with the dogs using her camera's night vision .

 

There were so many iReports from so many places using creative photography and video editing to show us the wide-reaching impact of Earth Hour. Check out our map to see where the lights went out. If you participated in Earth Hour, send us your photos and videos and take a look at what everyone else has sent. Comment below to tell us what you think.

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nsaidi
// March 30, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReporting from the (soggy) field »

With flooding soaking and washing through the Dakotas, iReporters are giving us a view from the ground.

 

KJohnston came all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to help his parents out in the Rose Creek neighborhood of Fargo, North Dakota. He has been shooting video of relief efforts as they happen, from sandbagging to fortification of blocks against the water. Students at North Dakota State University are within walking distance of the floodwaters, and campus resident assistant TylerSpecht says students are working around the clock to help with sandbagging and relief. Both iReporters were highlighted on CNN's “Situation Room.”

 

We also spoke to Ernest Feland , a former Bobcat company photographer who recalls sandbagging in the 1997 flooding. The Fargo resident says he is impressed with how people have mobilized themselves yet again. He sent remarkably clear photographs of the snowy,  muddy struggles to stave off the flooding. Feland's story, as well as that of TylerSpecht, was incorporated into a CNN.com story .

 

We're impressed with the great stories you are sharing. If you're out there, send us your photos and video and post your comments below. We'd love to hear your perspective from the field .

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// March 27, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Great Plains flooding: Telling the whole story »

If you pay attention to the news, you probably know that the Red River has reached a record level in Fargo, North Dakota. What you may not know is that other cities and towns are bracing for major flooding, too.

 

Thanks to iReporters, areas outside of Fargo are getting their due attention. Jennalee02 is shooting video diaries in Moorhead, Minnesota, across the river from Fargo. JeffNND shared photos from Lisbon and Milnor, North Dakota. And skinner09 captured floodwaters near the highway in Little Eagle, South Dakota.

 

Check out this iReport map to see photos and video of the widespread flooding.

 

It’s difficult for large media organizations to cover severe weather events in all the affected areas, and that’s why iReporters are such a valuable asset. Through your photos, videos and personal anecdotes, you help to tell the entire story.

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katie
// March 27, 2009
 0 comments
Posted in: stories
Join iReport on Twitter »

Do you tweet? We do! The iReport Team is thrilled to have more than 8,000 followers on the social networking site, and we hope you're among them.

 

We regularly post our latest assignments on Twitter, but we're also using the site in other cool ways. When one of your iReports makes it to the homepage of CNN.com or CNN TV, we often share it on Twitter with the hashtag #ireportoncnn . And we recently shared a screenshot of an iReport that helped tell a breaking news story on Twitpic.

 

If you're on Twitter, be sure to follow cnnireport and we'll do the same. See you in the Twittersphere!

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katie
// March 26, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReport Roundtable »

Join us again next week: Thusday, April 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET

 

We look forward to talking to everyone at today's roundtable session.These talks have been a great opportunity for us to here your concerns and ideas and for everyone to get to know each other better.

 

This has been a hugely successful experiment for us, but we're just starting to scratch the surface of what we can do here.So we'd like to spend most of today's session discussing what you'd like to talk about in the future. We'd like for y'all to help us brainstorm assignment ideas and have talked about bringing guests to answer questions about reporting, photography, video editing and other topics. We also want to hear your ideas.

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davidw
// March 26, 2009
 181 comments
Posted in: community
Obama's gaffe jumpstarts disabilities discussion »

Talk about a national conversation. When President Obama made a controversial remark about his bowling skills with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, people started chattering. iReporters expressed a variety of opinions about the president's reference to the Special Olympics and helped put disabilities issues in the spotlight.

 

professirx , an iReporter who uses a wheelchair and has covered the junior Paralympics in New Jersey, says people wear many hats in life, both literally and figuratively. To creatively illustrate his point, he put on a jester cap, cowboy hat and other headgear. Overall, he indicated neutral feelings about Obama's comments and felt there were more important issues to discuss, particularly the challenges people with disabilities face. He took off his hat, exposing the crown of his head to make his point. "The only hat he wore that night was a human hat. He made a mistake. Let's move on and deal with some other issues," professirx said.

 

He started using a wheelchair after he received a gunshot during an argument with a friend and tries to stay positive. Nowadays, professirx writes rap songs about disabilities and makes videos to get his message out. His insights into the challenges of using a wheelchair have intrigued us; members of our team enjoyed meeting him in New York.

 

But not everybody took the same view as professirx, and a discussion and debate was taking place on iReport.com. Fellow wheelchair user RVenger , a disabled veteran, said his disability is a "sore point" for him. He couldn't believe the president would say something like that. "To have a healthy person, with mind and body intact equate himself to me, someone like me, or someone worse than me, especially when that person is the President of the United States, is nothing short of insulting, regardless of whether or not it was intended to be."

 

Through a wide-angle lens, we were fascinated by how something the president says – an event in the news – can stir up latent feelings and unresolved issues in society. What do you think? Share your opinion on video and comment below with your thoughts on the gaffe's implications.

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nsaidi
// March 25, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Site maintenance Wednesday 8 a.m. ET »

Good news!  We just heard from our developers and they'll be rolling out bug fixes for many of the technical problems we've been experiencing for the past week.  The site will be down for about a half-hour tomorrow, while they do the maintenance.  This maintenance will:

  • Prevent the problem of users being prompted to login to view a story
  • Eliminate smiley face graphics and fix problem with comments getting blocked
  • Fix the url links in email notifications
  • Fix the map and make it run faster
  • You should also find that comments will load a lot faster.

 

This site upgrade clears the way for us to do some really cool things here at iReport.com and we want to thank our developers for all their hard work.

 

We also want to thank you for your patience, because we know how frustrating the bugs can be.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 24, 2009
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Posted in: site
iReport evening roundtable »

Thanks for a great discussion! Next meeting: Thursday March 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET

 

Our roundtable discussions have been such a big success we've decided to add regular evening meetings.

 

We plan to do this once a month, so we can talk to people who aren't able to attend our weekly sessions on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.

 

There's no set agenda for tonight because we want to give any new folks a chance to share their questions, comments and concerns. You can ask your question in the section below. New comments go to the bottom, so scroll down to follow the conversation.

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davidw
// March 24, 2009
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Posted in: community
Getting advice from the experts »

Sean Cochran works in the mortgage industry (seven days a week , in fact), but even he has trouble understanding the mortgage bailout plan. “We really don’t know anything,” he told CNN’s Melissa Long. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls asking, ‘Hey, can we get some of this stimulus money?’ and we’ve told all of our customers, ‘Hey, we don’t know.’”

 

Cochran was one of several iReporters this week who had the chance to speak with financial advisers. Real estate analyst Dani Babb told Cochran that he would receive more details about this as soon as April 20. Cochran expressed frustration with the lack of answers, but hoped that he might get definitive information soon.

 

Peter Kieselbach first shared his story about being laid off for the first time back in December. He is still looking for work and really needed advice. Penelope Trunk of Brazencareerist.com told him , “You’re going to need to hire someone to re-spin your resume to turn yourself into a specialist. The economy can’t handle generalists.”

 

Ted Stanke’s artwork has been seen for many months on iReport.com. Months after being laid off, however, he has been forced to sell some pieces he thought he would be able to keep forever. Watch Trunk share her advice for him here .

 

Patty Lewis, who has been iReporting about the obstacles she encounters as she faces foreclosure, got advice from Babb as well. Take a look here .

 

We’re delighted with how many iReporters have been getting expert advice. If you have financial questions, don't be shy. Share your iReport today !

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// March 20, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Comment troubles »

We've gotten multiple complaints from users who were not able to post comments on some iReport stories -- most say the site asks keeps asking them to log in over and over  again.

 

It looks like the problem is happening when people type in emoticons like :) or :(

 

We wanted to let everyone know that we know about the problem and that our developers are working to fix it as soon as they can.

 

In the meantime, please don't type emoticons into your comments. We're sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 20, 2009
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Posted in: site
Out-of-work journalist finds outlet on iReport and CNN »

Know what it's like to be laid off? Joe Cortez sure does. He's a photojournalist from Columbus, Ohio, and he's been laid off three times. And how does this down-on-his-luck journalist spend his newfound free time? By doing what he does best: Shooting a story about it.

 

Joe interviewed Paul VanAtta, who found himself out of work after spending his entire life in the automotive industry, and produced a nicely edited video package based on the interview. Then he met Angie Massie - executive producer for CNN Newsroom with Rick Sanchez - via Skype. Angie was convinced that Joe's voice was perfect for the show, and decided to do something that's not often done on CNN: Run his entire iReport package on the air.

 

Joe's iReport was played on the air Tuesday, and he used his webcam to do a quick live interview with Rick Sanchez as well. Way to go, Joe! We look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

You can catch Joe’s segment on CNN Newsroom with Rick Sanchez here .

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// March 19, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Lessons from grandma »

Today we asked iReporters to think back and share thrifty lessons their grandparents taught them. Janie Lambert, or as we all know her, Ryn , really captured the spirit of this assignment. Her great grandmother walked her through the Tennessee fields, pointing out which wildflowers could be used as herbal remedies . She also taught Lambert how to make her first pan of cornbread, something Lambert still makes today.

 

“She taught me so so much. … She gave me these things that I really relate to today,” Lambert said. What made this iReport extra-special were the family photos that have been passed from generation to generation.

 

Ginger Deville from Florida told us how much of an impact the Great Depression had on her grandparents. Her grandfather would hunt for meat and they grew their own garden . Deville’s grandmother was always in the kitchen canning vegetables or churning milk into butter, she said. It was from her that Deville learned how to store and can food. Yet, the most significant she learned was that “family is, and always should be, your strength, as well as your guide.”

 

What valuable thrifty lessons has your grandmother taught you? Share those lessons with us , so we can all learn a thing or two from generations past.

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zdan
// March 19, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReport Roundtable »

Thanks for your questions and comments! Next meeting Tuesday, March 24th at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

Hi and welcome to this week's iReport Roundtable.  First off, we want to thank everyone for their patience as we work through some kinks from yesterday's software deployment. It was a pretty significant upgrade to the software underneath iReport.com, and will let us build some pretty cool new features.

For now, here's a list of the things we're tracking down. If you spot something else, or have a question, please let us know in the comments:

 

* The map isn’t working quite yet, but shouldn’t be too long before it’s back.

 

* Search isn’t yet turning up results for all of the old content.

 

* Some of you have noted issues with comments and ratings not appearing right away. Developers are on it.

 

The good news, make that great news, is that this upgrade gives us the ability to do some really cool things, and we're working on some exciting new features.

 

One housekeeping issue before we start answering questions. From now on, our meetings will be on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.    We'll also have an evening meeting once a month. The first one will be on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. ET.

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davidw
// March 19, 2009
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Posted in: community
Something old, something new »

As part of our economy challenge, we asked you to take something old and turn it into something new. And we discovered…you’re a crafty bunch! We were impressed with the unique creations that several of you fashioned from items that started out as one thing and then became something completely and unexpectedly different.

 

Tabitha Jo Dotson and Sandra Kay Vogt run a website that shows off their craft and cooking projects. Their latest inspiration came from the “four or five” phone books that are left at their doorsteps every year.

 

“I was over at [Sandra’s] and her husband came in with new phone book,” says Tabitha. “And he said, ‘You girls need come up with a way to use these phone books.’”

 

So they did. The pair played around with the phone book and discovered that, when folded a certain way, it looked a bit like a vase. That became their inspiration, and they turned the phone books into decorative pencil holders .  The pair also designed dance bags for Tabitha’s daughter and Sandra’s niece out of the girls’ old pink leotards, and say the bags are both beautiful and functional.

 

Another crafty iReporter is Cherry DelRosario. An art student at Georgia State University, she transformed a $4 dart board into a jewelry vanity . She also made a really cool clock for her boyfriend out of an old book. She cut a circle out of the book, inserted a clock face, and burned his initials onto the front of the clock – a unique gift for someone who loves to read.

 

Are you up to the challenge? Show us how you can take something old and create something new.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// March 18, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Signs of the times »

 

Times are tough. People are watching businesses close and "for sale" signs pop up in their neighborhoods. We asked you to share your stories of these signs of the times and you responded with poignant views of the economy's literally concrete effects. Have you seen this happen in your area?

 

sjunat55 grabbed his camera and shot photos of Chelsea, a neighborhood in New York with a reputation for affluence. Through his lens, we saw the crumbling of a normally glamorous part of town: even the porn shop seemingly couldn't stave off tough times. austinchu left Orange County, California, and took us on a tour of the country, including crumbling parts of the heartland and a dying Oklahoma mall where only fitness walkers dare to tread.

 

We saw video tours of the areas too. MediaSpinDoc spoke of the absurdity of watching more homes being planned in Napa, California, as houses nearby go into foreclosure. Ggardner bemoaned the loss of favorite hangouts and local charities in San Clemente, California. And Salsteels gave viewers a peek at the hole left behind by big retail chains like Circuit City and CompUSA. But on the flip side, Windber, Pennsylvania, resident chzman said he found that while some businesses had closed, others were opening and his area was actively engaged in economic development to build up the local township.

 

These stories and many more were incorporated into an interactive story that can be found on CNN.com. Share your story and send us your photos and video . And while you're at it, check out our week of economic challenges .

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// March 18, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Roundtable reminder »

We want to remind everybody that we'll be holding our iReport Roundtable meeting tomorrow, Thursday, March 19th, at 2 p.m. ET.

 

I'm sure folks will have a lot of questions about the new tools and features we added today, so we'll answer as many as we can.  We look forward to talking to you.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 18, 2009
 21 comments
Posted in: community
And we're back.... »

Thanks for your patience while we rolled out some updates  to our software this morning.

 

As you can see the site is back online, and you can upload your stories.

 

We're chasing down a few bugs this morning. You'll likely notice our maps and search functions are temporarily unavailable. We're working on those fixes.  Thanks!

Posted by: tyson // March 18, 2009
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Posted in: site
Updates to iReport.com »

Thanks for your patience this morning while we rolled out some key software updates. The newest version of iReport.com lays the groundwork for some exciting new developments we are working on in the coming months.

 

You'll notice a few changes already in place. We've adjusted the way Superstar points are awarded. Users will no longer receive points for content more than 30 days old. We're also lowering the number of users awarded the Superstar status.
Also new -- users can no longer rate their own iReports.

 

In addition, we're rolling out two new tools for reporting abuse. You can now report a user for causing trouble from their profile page. Add you can also flag abusive comments posted to our blog.

 

Plus, we've added an "E-mail this assignment" link so you can share story ideas with your friends.

 

Why are we making these changes? The iReport community is growing fast, and together we're working to make this site better for everyone. These changes are based on suggestions from users like you.

 

We hope these changes, and the ones to come, will continue to make iReport.com a place you'll visit often.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
Thanks for all your feedback!

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davidw
// March 18, 2009
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Posted in: site
iReport.com maintenance on Wednesday »

We'll need to pull the site down for a couple hours early Wednesday morning so that we can roll out a fresh version of the software that runs the site. We'll start around 5 a.m. ET and should be finished 2 hours later. Stay tuned to the blog for details and updates. And if you've got stories during the outage that just can't wait, please e-mail them to ireport@cnn.com. Thank you!

Posted by: tyson // March 17, 2009
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Posted in: site
Frugal and fabulous »

 

We asked iReporters to show us their best thrift-store finds today, and met two women who said 90 percent of their wardrobes come from thrift shops. iReporter freetogonow sent photos of several outfits she bought for less than $15 each. "I rarely shop in a real store," she said. Goodwill, Salvation Army, yard sales and church rummage sales are her favorite spots to find deals. Oftentimes, freetogonow will re-sell her thrifty items on eBay. dmpeetz64 calls herself "the world's best thrift shopper." She waits for 99-cent days and half-off days at her local thrift store to buy clothing and other household items. Tommy Hilfiger clothes are her favorite. "I could never afford them if they weren't at thrift stores," she said. Other iReporters sent in photos thrift-store gems such as a $25 mink coat , cute dresses and hip outfits bought for $6 per pound , and a $10 evening gown . Are you a thrifty shopper? Share your favorite finds here , and be sure to check out all of our Thrifty and Thriving assignments .

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katie
// March 17, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Brown bag doesn't equal boring »

 

We kicked off day one of Thrifty and Thriving: iReport economy challenge this week, and you did not disappoint. We asked iReporters to make the ultimate bagged lunch -- an affordable, inventive, nutritious and delicious meal. iReporter Justopia showed the steps of making a delectable lunch on video. She whipped up a chicken sandwich, asparagus salad and chocolate-dipped macaroons from the previous night's meal. Barbecue champ SmokeInDaEye made our mouths water with a prime rib sandwich . A vacuum food sealer helps keep leftover meat fresh so it can be defrosted and used for lunches later in the week. But eTeddys went above and beyond with today's challenge. She packed a nutritious lunch for her husband for less than $2.50. The healthy meal included a turkey wrap, apple, carrots and Fig Newtons. Check out her iReport where she breaks down the cost of each item and even shares environmentally friendly tips for packing a lunch. Bon appetit! Are you ready for the challenge? Check out all of our fun and frugal assignments here .

Posted by:
 
katie
// March 16, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Selling his everything »

Playing the violin has been a huge part of John Krix's (aka newsdude newsdude ) life since he was 5. And now, after 40 years of devotion to the violin, he's selling a piece of his soul so his family can stay afloat financially.

 

His teaching paycheck and income from private music lessons and his wife's salary weren't enough anymore. Rising living expenses and mounting medical and credit card bills forced John to step up and make a decision. Music is in his blood, but he knew his collection of family violins had to go , instrument by instrument.

 

"It was a hard thing to have to sell them because each had a story about it. All those stories go along with the objects and they make them sentimental. It was really hard to get rid of them," he said.

 

The first violin he sold he had been playing for 15 years. Then he started selling the instruments given to him by his late father, a violinist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for 30 years. He was John's first violin teacher. Each varnished beauty, some whose value was in the thousands and others that held more of a sentimental value, sold for less than half their worth on ebay.

 

John’s been making decent money on the violins, so it's become a way of life. To make ends meet, he's now reselling instruments he buys from China for relatively cheap.

 

CNN’s Susan Roesgen interviewed John on Saturday about selling his heirlooms to help his family. As a treat, you can hear him play an excerpt! So, we want to know if you are selling your prized possessions , like John did? Let us know what heirlooms you've had to part with.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// March 16, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Your privacy »

We've gotten a handful of complaints today about someone sending private messages asking people to participate in a survey. Soliciting other members of the community is a violation of our terms of use, so I wanted to let everyone know that we've taken care of the problem. If you receive messages from someone pretending to represent CNN, asking for personal information or doing anything else that makes you uncomfortable, please let the iReport Team know at contact@ireport.com.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 13, 2009
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Posted in: community
A week of fun, frugal, fabulous challenges! »

Hey iReporters -- We want to give you a sneak peek at something we're pretty excited about. Next week, as part of CNN's "Road to Rescue" economy coverage, we're challenging iReporters to show us that it's possible to be thrifty but still live a happy, healthy and fabulous life.

 

We call it Thrifty and Thriving! Here's how it works. Each day, we'll feature a new economic challenge along with your thrifty tips and stories. During the week, you'll get the chance to share everything from how to make the best brown bag lunch to penny-pinching lessons from Grandma to thrift-store shopping tips.

 

Here's the key: we want you to have fun while being financially responsible. Your stories will be part of CNN's network-wide coverage all week. If you want to get started, here's where you can find all the assignments .

 

We look forward to seeing your awesome iReports!

Posted by: tyson // March 16, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Share your assignment ideas »

During yesterday's roundtable discussion, iReporter wjoreilly suggested that we allow iReporters to come up with assignment topics. It's a great idea, and one we've tried in the past. So, why not open the discussion again? What would you like to see from iReporters? The best assignments tend to be related to the news in some way and broad enough that a wide range of people can respond. Check out our Assignment Desk to see what we're currently asking for. We can't wait to hear your ideas! Share them below in the comments area.

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katie
// March 12, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReport Roundtable »

 

THANKS EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING

Next week's meeting: Thursday, March 19th, 2pm ET

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

Welcome to this week's meeting. We're looking forward to talking with everyone.

 

There is one minor housekeeping item I'd like to take care of, and that's setting a regular day and time for the roundtable. We've been mixing up the dates and times to try to reach as many folks as possible, but I think it's time to set a more predictable schedule.

 

Let's do that after the meeting though. Once we're done today, leave your preferred day and time in the comments and I'll look back during the week.

 

We don't have a set agenda, other than that so if you have questions, complaints, story ideas or suggestions, you can post them in the comment section below.

 

We'll post our answers there too.

 

New comments go to the bottom, so keep scrolling down to follow the conversation.

 

 

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 11, 2009
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Posted in: community
Bumper sticker wisdom »

I wanted to give everyone a friendly reminder that we would be taking a more active role in settling personal disputes between members of the community. We announced the move in a blog post on Friday , because letting people work out their differences on their own wasn't working. Debate, and even spirited debate, is welcome on iReport.com, but I would urge you to remember one important thing – just because people disagree with you, it doesn't mean they're evil. They may be wrong, but they're probably a good person. Please keep that in mind. I saw a bumper sticker on my way in to work this morning that simply said "be nice." I think that pretty much says it all.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// March 9, 2009
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Posted in: community
Economy hits Second Life »

 

We know the economy is not doing so well in the real world, but what about virtual worlds? More specifically, Second Life, which has its own economy and system of money. iReporters in Second Life have been sharing stories of how the real world economy is having an effect on the economy there and the outlook is mixed. Second Life avatar Janey Bracken said, “I am quite amazed that lots of businesses in Second Life still push for higher prices when so many people in the real world are losing their jobs. … As Second Life expands with so many new people coming in lately, you wonder if less people will actually be bringing money into the virtual world, as it's going to be way down on the list of real-life expenditure as the credit crunch tightens.” iReporter Wil Perian interviewed other Second Life residents on the changes they were seeing. “As the RL economy is a bit more unstable, SL will be a bit more stable," said Czari Zenovka, a business owner in Second Life. "One dollar goes a lot farther in Second Life than real life." Jojogirl Bailey, another avatar business owner, told Perian, “I really think it is affecting folks who were spending large amounts of real money to fund their Second Life stuff.” According to Linden Labs, the owners of Second Life, the number of total unique users with “positive monthly Linden flow” has actually increased in the past six months (though it did drop from September to November). iReporter Martyn Vantelli spoke with avatar Kirsty25 Brune who is trying to start up a Second Life employment agency. She tells Vantelli, “I have met a lot of people that want this to work that already have businesses and need employees.” However, she has found that setting up her new business is not so easy. Despite these challenges, most of the iReporters and interviewees in Second Life are hopeful for the future. As Perian says, “The economy continues to go down and rarely do we hear some positive news. Perhaps it is Second Life that is giving us that bit of hope.” Are you in Second Life? Tell us the economic effects you're seeing and share your story . (Cross-posted at CNN's SciTechBlog .)

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// March 9, 2009
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Posted in: stories
The community has spoken »

We've gotten a lot of complaints in recent weeks about the tone of the debate here on iReport.com and a lot of users have asked that we take a tougher stance against abusive behavior on the site. We’ve always had a three strike policy, but we have really tried to let members of the community settle their differences with one another with as little interference from us as possible, but it's clear that that's not working for you. So starting Monday, we're going to be a little stricter so that we can stamp out abusive behavior, name calling and other violations. I want to stress that the rules are NOT changing, we are just going to step in when we see abusive behavior between community members. I would encourage everyone to read the Community Guidelines and Section 7(A) of our Terms of Use over the weekend.

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davidw
// March 6, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReport Roundtable »

THANKS FOR THE GREAT DISCUSSION!

Next week's session will be Wednesday, March 11, at 12 p.m. ET

 

 

 

 

We're looking forward to talking to everyone over the next hour.

 

There's no set topic for today's meeting, so if you have questions, complaints, story ideas or suggestions, you can post them in the comment section below.

 

We'll post our answers there too.

 

Just a reminder, the new comments go to the bottom, so keep scrolling down to follow the conversation.

 

 

 

 

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davidw
// March 6, 2009
 298 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Wanted: One talented, creative, enthusiastic, and totally awesome iReport intern »

Want to come work with the folks at iReport.com this summer? We're currently accepting student applications for our summer internship program at CNN Center in Atlanta. A few things you should know: *This internship is unpaid and lasts about 12 weeks *Course credit is available for college students *And -- very important -- candidates must be iReport.com contributors One lucky intern will work with iReport.com's editorial team -- an extension of CNN.com, helping lead CNN's user-generated news content, participatory media and community efforts. You'll also get the chance to learn from a host of CNN professionals across platforms. Sound like fun? You can check out all the details and formally apply here. We are so looking forward to working with you!

Posted by: tyson // March 6, 2009
 25 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: site
iReport Roundtable – save the date »

Friday, March 6, 3 p.m to 4 p.m. ET Last week's roundtable session was a big success, so we've decided to make it a regular feature. So if you have any questions, comments or concerns about iReport.com, this is your chance to share them with us. We'll look forward to talking to you then. Update - the conversation is happening here: http://www.ireport.com/blogs/ireport-blog/2009/03/06/ireport-roundtable

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davidw
// March 6, 2009
 38 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Kicking the habit »

Like many of us, myself definitely included, Robin Savage (aka OCGirl) was addicted to her cell phone -- calling, texting, being able to get in touch with anyone at a moment's notice. "They say cigarettes are addictive, but I'm telling you, I think cell phones could be just as bad," she said. So it was a big deal when, fed up with the hidden fees that kept showing up on her bill, she decided to kick the habit and get rid of her cell phone. She's been without it for a few days now, and she says it's "complete torture." It's even keeping her up at night! But, on the other hand, Robin says she's saving hundreds of dollars a month. And she's actually enjoying being unreachable some of the time. "I love taking walks knowing I don't have to answer or check my messages right away," she told me by email. Maybe it's because I don't have a land line, but there's a lot I'd do without before I'd give up my cell phone. What about you? What are you cutting out of your budget? We want to hear about your personal finance priorities. And Robin, let us know how you're surviving without your phone!

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rachel8
// March 4, 2009
 20 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Snow-motion replay »

 

One day you're walking around in shorts and the next, you're bundled up and building a snowman. Weather can be surprisingly variable, as in the case of a recent snowstorm across several states, and iReporters are using creative videography to capture the drastic changes that can occur when weather barrels through. One well-produced piece came from jbjimbo, who showed snow coming up in Nesconset, New York, in addition to reporting on local conditions. A user comment described the video as looking like a cake rising in an oven. ChrisBee showed us about nine hours in the span of 38 seconds as vehicles move through the street in New York and snow increasingly fills the roadway. Another 38-second piece from cdmwebs takes nearly five hours and condenses the time to show how snow makes plants droop on his deck in Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Finally, the rapid speed of the storm is illustrated by TriggaDrew's video showing how the snow caked on his neighborhood in about three hours. We love seeing creative ways of telling a story and showing its meaning, so we encourage you to pull out your camera and find your own storytelling muse. Comment below with your time-lapse tips and tricks, and head to our assignment desk to see if there's a topic out there that interests you.

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nsaidi
// March 3, 2009
 6 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Recess bell rings, part 2 »

 

Remember austinchu, the iReporter traveling the country with his brother Brian to chronicle the effects of the recession? The two of them dropped by CNN on Saturday morning and spoke with T.J. Holmes on the air. So far on his journey, he finds that “people are getting back to basics, it’s about our values, it’s about love, compassion and relationships.” Watch the full interview here, as well as their chat with HLN’s Chuck Roberts. In the meantime, let us know how you are making the most of the economic slowdown. Share your iReport here!

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hhanks
// March 2, 2009
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
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