Blog : May 2009
Your iReports, our tips: #6 »

I had the pleasure of calling Iceland today and chatting it up with ander , who’s been covering Iceland’s collapsed economy. Last weekend he filmed a protest in his hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

ander shot a variety of footage to illustrate the story behind the protest. An Icelandic rock star sang to the crowds and one man started planting potatoes, right in front of the Parliament! The potato planter was trying to make a point: If the Icelandic government wasn’t going to help him, he would help himself, ander said.

 

 

But, even veteran iReporters like ander enjoy receiving feedback on their stories. Getting on camera and narrating this video would have given readers more context as to what was going on. Most of us don’t speak Icelandic, so ander suggested writing subtitles in English next time!

 

One more tip for ander: Speak with some of the protesters and find out their stories. We’re always looking for the personal story behind the larger one.

 

Great work brining this story into the international spotlight, ander! See everyone later with more tips.

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zdan
// May 29, 2009
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Posted in: boot_camp
Who won the great late night debate? »


As Jay Leno prepares to host “The Tonight Show” for the final time, with Conan O’Brien waiting in the wings to take over, iReporters sounded off on which one is the better host.

davidseaman is a committed Leno fan, and finds O’Brien’s humor to be a little too self-centered. He finds Leno to he more “polished”.

Rajiim polled several of his friends and family, who seemed to be split on the issue, but he had to go with his favorite, O’Brien. Though he admits he might be a little biased, since O’Brien’s a taller man just like himself.

Despite a late rally by O’Brien fans, it appears that Leno had more support overall in the community. Check out what others had to say here.

Who do you think won the debate? Click the thumbnails to watch both videos and share your comments below.

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hhanks
// May 29, 2009
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Congratulations, espiBlog! »

iReporter Patricio Espinoza has won a 2009 Lone Star EMMY Advanced Media Award for his coverage of Hurricane Ike on espiblog.org. Let's all give him a round of virtual applause!

 

We're proud to say that the videos in Espinoza's award-winning coverage, where he took viewers inside evacuee shelters in San Antonio and gave us a first-hand look at search and rescue efforts by the National Guard, were posted here on iReport.com and featured on CNN.

 

On his blog, Espinoza called the award "a testament to what ONE Journalist can do with today's ready available digital tools.  It is a sign of the times we live in, and I'm just happy to be part of it." Well, we're certainly happy that Espinoza is part of the community here at iReport.

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lila
// May 28, 2009
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Posted in: community
No roundtable discussion today »

Hi iReporters! Today's roundtable has been postponed. We'll meet on the blog next week on Thursday, June 4, at 2:30 p.m. ET. In the meantime, feel free to suggest topics for future roundtable discussions in the comments field. See you next week!

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katie
// May 28, 2009
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Posted in: community
Honoring the fallen »

On Memorial Day, many iReporters took the time to remember those soldiers lost in battle. Some of you sent stunning photos and thoughtful videos from events and memorials.

SteveAdams and jtown04 documented memorial ceremonies in their towns with these beautiful photos. mandydalton asked people around Annapolis, Maryland, what Memorial Day means to them, and documented their thoughtful responses on video. And ChrisMorrow interviewed veterans at a remembrance ceremony in San Diego.

Thanks to everyone who submitted Memorial Day iReports. Your responses were truly touching.

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rachel8
// May 26, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Head-to-head: Newspaper lovers vs. online news junkies »


The sluggish economy has hurt the newspaper industry and we were curious how iReporters felt about it. We heard from people like JimMorrison1 who love the touch and feel of a printed paper (especially its crossword puzzles), versus wjoreilly who says online news is the wave of the future. Among the numerous responses, we also heard from paper readers davidjw and edwaters. On the online side, we got videos from iReporters like ejusten and journalism student krisitay

The responses really made us think, so we decided to try something a little different in presentation of the stories we received. The two videos you see here utilize kinetic typography, a technique where words dance across the viewing area as the speaker says them. The people speaking behind the words are the iReporters mentioned above. Are you a newspaper person, or do you like to get your news online? Click on the thumbnails to take a look at the two sides, and then tell us where you stand in this debate.

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nsaidi
// May 22, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReports in space! »

Congratulations to ChrisMorrow and PunjabiPower , who received the incredible honor of having the first iReports beamed into space.

ChrisMorrow went to a SanDiego middle school, and students there had a question for the astronauts: How old were they when they first went into space and what inspired them to do so?

Then, PunjabiPower asked why the American taxpayer should continue to fund the space program.

How did they answer? Take a look ! And thanks to everyone who submitted their iReport questions!

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hhanks
// May 22, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReporter's big day »

We were honored to host a special visitor Wednesday, when  KyleHD stopped by the iReport.com office while on a visit to Atlanta . It turned out to be a pretty fun day. He even realized his dream of trying out the fabled "magic wall" for himself. Check out these highlights:

 

* KyleHD discussing his iReport career so far with CNN’s Tony Harris.

 

* A spirited "American Idol" debate on the merits of eventual winner Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert with another fan on CNN.com Live.

 

* To top it off, CNN's Larry King coincidentally answered his most remarkable question that same night.

 

It was great to meet KyleHD, and we hope to see more from him on iReport.com soon!

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hhanks
// May 21, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReport roundtable »

Thanks for a great discussion. We look forward to talking to you again next Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

We had more than 300 comments on a wide variety of topics. I hope we answered everyone's questions.

 

If you missed today's discussion, here are some of the highlights:

 

* iReport Photo Club -- Our new photo challenge is fisheye photography. We can't wait to see what you submit.

 

* Story ideas -- Several people made some really cool suggestions for stories, including how cities are dealing with loss of auto plants, old Monopoly boards, children's art projects and radiation from the new airport scanners. Some users thought our assignments were a little bland, so we suggested that folks make their own assignments to jumpstart an interesting discussion.

 

We spent a lot of the hour talking about trolls, bullying and other bad behavior. Our developers have put in some new tools to make it harder for banned users to come back and be disruptive. Hopefully this will take care of a lot of the problem, but when you get right down to it, it is up to us to make iReport.com the community we want it to be.

 

I want to encourage everyone to give each other the benefit of the doubt. That "troll" you're fighting with may have just had a bad day and said something unfortunate. We've all been there.

 

If you see abusive behavior, please hit the Report violation link and we'll take appropriate action. But understanding is the most important tool we have to build this community.

 

Have a great week.

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davidw
// May 21, 2009
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Posted in: community
Head-to-head: Should Vick return to the NFL? »


Michael Vick is the subject of fierce debate on iReport.com. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback -- who pleaded guilty in August 2007 to funding a dogfighting ring at his Virginia home -- returned there today, where he will spend the last two months of his 23-month sentence.

 

Now many are wondering whether Vick should return to the NFL or not.

 

iReporter krisitay , a "huge sports fan" who grew up with four dogs in her household, thinks Vick deserves a second chance. "There are many NFL players who have extensive rap sheets but are still allowed to lace up," she said. As long as Vick proves that he's learned his lesson, krisitay thinks he should be allowed to play.

 

EWillies1961 disagrees. "As long as the sports leagues continue to re-sign these athletes, their bad behavior will continue," he said. He believes Vick is no exception and should not be allowed in the NFL.

 

Who do you think has the stronger argument? Click the thumbnails to watch both videos and share your thoughts in the comments field below.

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katie
// May 21, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Documentarians show they’re up to the challenge »

Filmmaker  aussiearn had 48 hours to put together a four-minute documentary. He and his producer, Gary Scozzafava, were hoping to enter a competition in Fairfax, California, in March. They met Michael, a man living in a tent in the hills of Fairfax, and decided to make him the focus of their documentary. They examined his daily life and the reasons behind his homelessness. The results were so impressive that the pair were awarded second place in the competition.

aussiearn is just one of many documentary filmmakers who share their stories on iReport.com.

ChrisMorrow visited Zona Norte in April, the “red light district” of Tijuana, Mexico, and documented life there with novelist Michael Hemmingson. What they found were empty streets where tourists once roamed and poverty everywhere. Their documentary short was entered into the “Short Film Corner” at the Cannes Film Festival, and ChrisMorrow was kind enough to share it with the iReport community.

If you have a documentary you would like to share, we’d love to see it. Upload it here!

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hhanks
// May 19, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Featured photo essay »

 

Hello photo clubbers! A few weeks ago, we challenged you to tell a visual story by crafting a photo essay. There were so many beautiful, compelling essays, and we decided to feature one of them.

 

iReporter Shahsazzad spent months in his town of Dhaka, Bangladesh, capturing reflections in water . He strived to show reflections of truth. Shahsazzad explained that reflections in the water, much like those in a mirror, don’t lie.

 

“Throughout my images I have tried to interpret water as a pure form reflecting the heritage, achievement, issues, and dreams of Bangladesh lest they are forgone and forgotten,” he said. While ripples or disturbances in the water distort the reflection, once the water settles, you can see the truth again. And your mind can again see the truth, following with his metaphor, he said.

 

Shahsazzad struggled with heat and monsoons as he tried to get the perfect shots. Getting the photos he wanted was also a challenge in terms of technique. He shot multiple frames of the same shot, slightly modifying the f-stop: He adjusted the amount of light coming through the lens until he got the exposure he wanted.

 

Everything came together after three months and he finally got the images he was looking for. Shahsazzad is about to finish a degree in photojournalism. He’s switched careers a lot, but he’s realized photography is “where I’ll stay all my life.”

 

We’re hoping to feature several photo club submissions on the blog. We invite you to leave us some suggestions for what you’d like future photo club challenges.

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zdan
// May 14, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReport roundtable: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

Next meeting: Thursday, May 21st, at 2:30 p.m. ET

Thanks for a great discussion.

 

We'll kick off today's roundtable session with a simple question that should spark a pretty interesting discussion.

 

Why do you iReport?

 

We'd like to know why you joined the iReport community and why you stay. Your answers will help us as we work to make our community even better.

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davidw
// May 14, 2009
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Posted in: community
Your iReports, our tips: #5 »

Photography is a cornerstone of great journalism, and it’s something I’m passionate about. So, this week I wanted to give iReportland some tips for taking superb snapshots.

Rule of thirds
Before you put the subject smack-dab in the middle of the frame, stop yourself. Imagine the frame is split up into three equal parts, both vertically and horizontally. Try to place the subject in one-third of the frame. The photo will have a compelling composition because the subject will have room to move out of the frame.

 

 

 

 

 

Frame elements
Take a look at the photo to the left because it’s a good example of framing. Try to snap photos that have foreground elements, like these tree branches, to create a frame around the subject. This adds depth, and it makes for pretty pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take lots of pictures
My photojournalism professor taught me a valuable lesson: Take as many photos as you can. The more frames you take, the better the chance that you’ll come up with something you like. Once you leave the scene or the event is over, that’s it. It’s better to have more photos to work with than not enough.

 

Here's a challenge: Pick up that camera and start practicing these tricks!

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zdan
// May 9, 2009
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Posted in: boot_camp
Railway enthusiasts unite »

In honor of National Rail Day, we asked iReporters to send us their favorite photos and videos from the railway and were extremely impressed with the quality of submissions.

 

 

iReporter mcintron shared several videos from a trip on Canada's VIA Rail Songwriter Train, which traveled from Toronto to Vancouver in November. The sight of snow-capped mountains and sounds of Americana music is a beautiful mix.

 

If you're a railway enthusiast, we'd love to see your photos and video. And don't miss some of the standout photo submissions we received on this CNN.com interactive .

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katie
// May 8, 2009
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Posted in: stories
'Chuck vs. the iReporters' »

We wanted to know which network show  you wanted to save and you spoke loud and clear: iReporters want their “Chuck”!

Fans of NBC’s action comedy are determined  to get it renewed for a third season and hardcore fans turned up in droves posting their videos on iReport.com saying why they want the show to come back  (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was also well represented.) We received  iReports from four countries.

 

Well, the great folks at CNN.com  Live just had to let the “Chuck” crew know how much they were loved on iReport, so they put iReporter GrayJones, one of the first people online to suggest a “Save Chuck” campaign, on  air with the show’s stars Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez. GrayJones got to ask three of the biggest  questions posed by fans, and Levi and Gomez thanked him for his efforts. It was  truly a magical moment, and you can check it out here!

 

In the meantime, if you want to  share your “Chuck” love, or tell us why another show should be saved, post your video here!

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hhanks
// May 8, 2009
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Facing the loss of a home -- again »

We've seen some incredible photos and video of wildfires on the site during the past few days, but these images from Montecito, California, took my breath away.

 

 

iReporter and film student macfaulkner was part of documentary team led by director Tracy Trotter that followed a family who lost their home during last year's Tea Fire. Just weeks ago, the family moved into a new house thanks to donations from local companies.

 

Now, as wildfires blaze throughout Santa Barbara County, the family's home is again in danger. Through compelling photos, macfaulkner was able to capture the difficult situation they face.

 

"It made my stomach churn watching the flames make their way toward something everyone had worked so hard to achieve," he wrote. "And for the family that had already lost so much, to have to face it all again would be devastating."

 

We hope macfaulkner will continue to follow this family's story as the wildfires continue. And if wildfires are active near you, we want to hear your story as well.

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katie
// May 7, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReport Roundtable »

Next roundtable: Thursday, May 14th, at 2:30 p.m. ET

 

We made some really cool changes on the site this morning, so I'm sure that everyone will have a lot to talk about today.

 

Lila's already blogged about the new features, and you probably noticed that the star rating system is gone.

 

Now that we've taken care of that nagging issue, it seems like a good time to ask some bigger questions:

 

What do you think the iReport.com community should be and how do we get there from here?

Posted by:
 
davidw
// May 7, 2009
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Posted in: community
New features! »

Thanks for your patience this morning while we rolled out a handful of fixes and some shiny, new features on iReport.com. The highlights:

 

* (Drumroll, please ...) No more star ratings - It's no secret that the iReport community wasn't very fond of the star ratings on iReport stories, so for now we've disabled them altogether while we work on a better alternative.

 

* Profile stats - Take a look at anyone's profile page and you'll see some new info about a person's activity in the community.

 

* 'Tweet this' links - We added "Tweet" links on every story and assignment page that make it really simple to share an iReport through your Twitter account

 

* Staff badges - Starting today, iReport staffers get a special treatment around their screennames so you can tell who we are.

 

Hope you like the new stuff. As always, you can drop us a line at contact@ireport.com or leave a note in the comments to let us know what you think.

Posted by:
 
lila
// May 7, 2009
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Posted in: site
Like mother, like son »

 

As Mother’s Day approaches, we’d like to pay tribute to two pairs of iReporters for whom iReporting is truly a family affair. Oyeah and his mother, NatiLady both send iReports from Cincinnati, and sometimes collaborate, like in his most recent iReport sharing the secrets of their beloved city.

plewis3333 first iReported about her situation facing foreclosure with a little help from her son. He now sends his own iReports as well, most recently asking residents of Philadelphia how they would grade President Obama’s first 100 days.

 

Now it’s your turn. Let your mother be a part of your iReporting by interviewing her for Mother’s Day. We have a few suggested questions here. We look forward to seeing what she has to say!

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hhanks
// May 4, 2009
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Posted in: community
Your iReports, our tips: #4 »

 

From time to time we see iReporters using advanced video techniques, like time-lapse photography. Taking photographs at a constant interval shows us gradual changes in a novel way.

 

iReporter craezer captured a Seattle sunset over a 4.5-hour period using this technique. He set up his Canon digital SLR with an intervalometer, which tells the camera to take a photo at constant intervals. The camera was set to fire once every three seconds, giving craezer more than 4,000 images!

 

I learned a lot about time-lapse from my conversation with craezer. Photography and time-lapse are hobbies of his. He said the trickiest part of the process was the changing light. The transition from day to evening provides an added challenge because you have to adjust the exposure settings.

 

As we learned from each other, the biggest tip I gave craezer was to speed up his video. In TV land, two minutes is a long clip. An easy remedy would be to use video-editing software – Final Cut or Adobe Premiere – to speed up the frame rate. Voila, the clouds will soar faster and night will descend quicker.

 

And, for those who want a bigger challenge, you can capture the same scene with multiple cameras set up at different angles. For the record, craezer is experimenting with this idea.

 

Excellent work, craezer! Thanks for teaching me a thing or two as well. See you next week with more tips.

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zdan
// May 1, 2009
 8 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
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