Blog : July 2009
iReport roundtable »

Our next roundtable will be on Thursday, August 13th.

 

It was nice to talk to everyone at this week's iReport roundtable discussion. We enjoyed talking with you about what's going on in the iReport.com community.

 

Thank you for sharing your questions, comments and concerns.

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davidw
// July 30, 2009
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iReporter asks, White House responds »

Like many iReporters, Jason Rogers is concerned with the issue of health care.

 

It’s a personal issue for him because his father was diagnosed with brain cancer four years ago. His family decided to fight the disease with everything they had, and he’s concerned that such measures might not be possible under a public health care system.

 

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta addressed Rogers’ question on “American Morning,” but he also took the extra step of bringing it to the attention of the White House. Watch Gupta’s response, as well as the one from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue here. Do you have a question or concern about health care reform? Post your video here. You never know who might respond to it.

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hhanks
// July 30, 2009
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Posted in: community, stories
Congratulations professirx! »

We got some great news last night from iReporter Richard Gaskin, who's better known here as professirx. His non-profit group, I Believe Inc., was awarded a $24,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation.

 

Richard is a filmmaker and musician, who has shot music videos with rapper Ice T and other stars and has shared almost 300 stories with iReport.com. He's also paralyzed and has been in a wheelchair since a 1987 spinal cord injury.

 

Richard founded I Believe Inc. to spread the word about efforts to cure paralysis and other degenerative diseases. Keep up the great work, Richard!

 

We also want to invite you to share your successes with us so we can tell the community know about them.

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davidw
// July 29, 2009
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It all started with Comic-Con »

Posted for iReport producer Nicole Saidi, who's off on a Comic-Con adventure

 

One of our most prolific citizen journalists, ChrisMorrow , has come full circle on a full year of iReporting. The San Diego, California, videographer and photographer has given us the inside scoop on the Comic-Con madness for two years now. The event transforms the entire city into a Hollywood, Hollyweird and science fiction Mecca for a few days.

 

This year, I got a chance to not only go to the popular arts convention but meet ChrisMorrow as the blessed event was winding down. I learned a lot about her as we discussed her interest in journalism, as well as her experiences as an early adopter of webcam technology. She and husband Marty had a live webcam of their experiences at home when this practice was new. Overall, she's very focused on her craft and has a keen eye on her local beat. I also learned that she is a talented photographer, artist, designer and collage maker. I'll go home with some new ideas, that's for sure.

 

ChrisMorrow showed me some of her favorite haunts downtown and in the picturesque neighborhood of Little Italy. We went to the top of the Hyatt and relaxed in the cabanas of the W Hotel before heading up to her rooftop patio and gazing at the sunset over the ocean. I can't think of many better places to be a journalist than San Diego, with so much going on and a beautiful setting to boot.

 

Check out ChrisMorrow's stories on iReport.com and hopefully you'll find some inspiration there. What's your favorite iReport you've seen from ChrisMorrow?

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zdan
// July 28, 2009
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Fake AT&T story on iReport.com »

The talk of the web today is a brewing fight between AT&T and 4chan, a popular message board, over alleged censorship. Late last night, iReport.com was co-opted into the online scuffle.

 

Around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, some fraudsters posted iReports claiming that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had died. The stories were false, the iReport.com community spoke up, and iReport.com's moderators removed the fraudulent content from the site. And that's exactly how iReport.com is meant to work.  

 

It's important to note that the fake story about Stephenson was never used on CNN's news platforms in any way. And on iReport.com, it didn't get the "on CNN" stamp, which sets iReport.com apart from other user-generated content sites by letting users know that CNN has verified the details in a submission and approved it for use on CNN.com and CNN TV.

 

This kind of fraudulent behavior goes against everything iReport.com stands for, and it won’t be tolerated. We're proud that you - the iReport.com community - are likewise committed to putting such false rumors to rest.

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lila
// July 27, 2009
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Arrested professor sparks debate »

It seems everyone has something to say about the arrest of prominent black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. This passionate and creative video from iReporter DesireG stood out from the rest.

 

Not only did Desire tackle a heated issue by thoroughly explaining her stance, she did it in a way that was interesting to watch. We often encourage iReporters to keep their video submissions short, but Desire’s commentary – at around four minutes – kept us engaged the entire time. The sound quality, smooth editing and subtle transitions are some of the best we've seen on the site.

 

We're equally excited about the response to Desire's video. It's been viewed, e-mailed and shared on social networking sites a record number of times, and spurred a passionate response in the comments field.

 

People had varying reactions to her view that Gates, not the arresting officer, was to blame. While HeidiG agreed, saying that "racial profiling is wrong ... but not all cops are bad or racist," BiologyMom30 wrote, "this whole event undermines real incidents of racial profiling by police." And several iReporters echoed what seeitnow had to say: "Extremely well done," he wrote. "She sets the bar high for the rest of us."

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katie
// July 24, 2009
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Full Comic-Con coverage »

 

The annual San Diego Comic-Con is sold out this year with more than 125,000 expected to attend. Among those people is ChrisMorrow, who sent her first iReport about last year’s Comic-Con.


She began her 2009 Comic-Con coverage before the convention even opened, interviewing convention and San Diego officials, exhibitors and others to find out how they prepare for such a massive pop culture event. Then she spoke to excited fans of the upcoming “Twilight” movie sequel “New Moon,” some of whom had been waiting for days for a chance to see their favorite actors. As the convention began on Wednesday, she shared the excitement of opening night.


ChrisMorrow will be updating from the convention from now until Sunday, so keep checking back with iReport.com for all the latest, and don't forget to follow her on Twitter. Meanwhile, if you’re at Comic-Con, please share your photos and video with the community as well.

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hhanks
// July 23, 2009
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iReport roundtable: Special guest-star edition »

 

We're happy to welcome CNN International producer Jessica Ellis to this week's roundtable meeting. Jessica created the "iReport for CNN" show on CNNI and now works to include iReports into the network's daily coverage. If you want to know what CNN producers look for on iReport.com, she's a great person to ask.

 

She's also a talented photographer and goes all over the world to take wildlife pictures (like the ones above). So you can also ask her any photo or video questions you have.

 

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, we'll be happy to address them too.

 

We'll open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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davidw
// July 23, 2009
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iReporter quoted in Rolling Stone »

We were delighted to learn that iReporter EWillies1961 was quoted in Rolling Stone's commemorative issue on Michael Jackson.

 

Out of all the media coverage focusing on Jackson, Willies' video commentary captured writer Mikal Gilmore's attention:

 

"The most affecting statement I heard came from a young black man, Egberto Willies, whose self-chronicled video statement aired on CNN: 'I grew up,' Willies said, and paused a beat, 'on Michael Jackson. I loved ... Michael Jackson. I hated ... Michael Jackson. I admired ... Michael Jackson. I was ashamed ... of Michael Jackson. I was sorry ... for Michael Jackson. I was proud ... of Michael Jackson.’"

 

We couldn't be happier with the response to Willies' iReport. It's a big testament to the power of personal, emotional reaction from everyday people. Television channels and news sites devoted round-the-clock coverage to Jackson and it was Willies, a regular guy who shared his thoughts on a Web cam, who stood out from the rest.

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katie
// July 23, 2009
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Roundtable reminder: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

Please join us Thursday, July 23rd, at 2:30 p.m. ET for our weekly roundtable discussion.

We're looking forward to talking with you.

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davidw
// July 22, 2009
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Fly me to the moon »

On July 20, 1969, man walked on the moon for the first time, and the world was watching. Now, 40 years later, many of you remember staring at the TV and experiencing that great moment. You shared your fond memories and historical insights in honor of Apollo 11's 40th anniversary.

 

Bob Van Keuren staked out his seat hours ahead of time to watching the moon landing on TV. He was stationed at a Navy training center at the time, and he wanted to make sure he had a good view in their TV room. Van Keuren remembers thinking that this was by far the most important historical event he would ever witness, and he still feels that way.

 

"When they don't remember the United States, they'll still remember when that happened, even if it's lost in legend," he said.

 

Van Keuren also says it was the most excited he ever saw quintessential anchorman Walter Cronkite, who recently died at age 92.

 

And Bill Burkett was just 10 years old when he watched the landing on a tiny black-and-white TV with his family. Even at that age, he was struck by what he saw as an incredible contrast in technological innovation. There man was, walking on the moon, and yet he was watching the event on an old television with a tiny, black-and-white screen and rabbit ears.

 

"It just seems like such old technology, and then here on TV were men walking on the moon," he said. "The contrast was kind of amazing to me. My grandparents' house was old, and very old-fashioned, and what we were watching...wasn't."

 

Other iReporters had once-in-a-lifetime memories and stories as well. kidatheart2 got to attend the launch of Apollo 11, and plettdoctor remembers standing in the streets of Brakpan, South Africa, listening to a transistor radio while his dad filmed the moon with an 8 mm camera.

 

Do you remember watching Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon? Did you dream of becoming an astronaut? Share your memories of Apollo 11 and your thoughts on future space exploration.

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rachel8
// July 21, 2009
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iReporter meet ups: Real-life roundtables »

If you're going to be in Chicago tomorrow, you might want to head downtown to meet some of your fellow iReporters. KyleHD is hosting an iReport meet up at the Panera Bread Co. across the street from the Sears Tower (or the Willis Tower if you prefer the new name).

We won't be able to be there, but Kyle's a great guy and I'm sure it will be fun. Be sure to bring your cameras to document the event! You can RSVP on our Facebook page.

 

Here are the details:

 

Chicago iReporter meet up

When: Wednesday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Panera Bread Co.

250 S. Wacker Drive

Chicago, Illinois

 

Several iReporters have talked about planning their own get-togethers and we want to help spread the word. If you e-mail me the details at david.williams@turner.com, I will post your meetings on our Facebook page.

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davidw
// July 21, 2009
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Cronkite's impact on citizen journalists »

It's no surprise that CBS newsman Walter Cronkite influenced several iReporters. The veteran newscaster, known as the "most trusted man in America," died at 92.

 

"As an aspiring journalist and reporter, Walter Cronkite was someone I definitely looked up to," said KyleHD. The 22-year-old iReporter attended the Walker Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University.

 

"He wanted to be part of the next generation and the next wave of broadcasting," said KyleHD. "He tried to take what he knew and pass it on to students who will hopefully some day be like him."

 

Retired radio broadcaster TheDimmitt said Cronkite "is the example used worldwide of what a newsman should be." davidjw remembers watching Cronkite during countless news events, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, throughout the Vietnam War, and the Apollo Moon Landing. "He was the one who everybody turned to for news," he said.

 

ChrisMorrow interviewed journalist Liz Linderman, who described Cronkite as "absolutely the most trusted journalist." She added, "We'll never see the likes of him again."

 

Did Cronkite affect you as a citizen journalist? Share your memories here and see what other iReporters had to say.

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katie
// July 20, 2009
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Eyewitnesses to Jakarta blasts »

After explosions at two U.S.-based hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, citizen journalists were on the scene showing some of the earliest images of the aftermath.

 

iReporter gwoolste was an eyewitness who was staying in an apartment nearby and said he heard the blasts as they occurred. First, he saw smoke coming out of the JW Marriott. Then, as he ran down to the ground floor of his place, he heard a big explosion at the Ritz-Carlton and noticed that the windows were blown out by the street.

 

He said he took a look at the hotel lobby and spotted injured people being taken out. Among the wreckage, he also saw what he believes to be a "mutilated" body on the ground. He described the scene as "total devastation."

 

"All the furniture was blown everywhere, fixtures hanging from the ceiling."

 

Another iReporter, Earthstone , described an "eerie silence" after the blast at the Ritz Carlton. He grabbed his binoculars and watched people the scene from his apartment nearby.

 

“Some guests were leaving out of the hotel with their belongings and bags from the front door crossing the scene of the blast. Security staff was helping the guests to leave in an orderly manner."

 

We're still monitoring the scene in Jakarta. Are you there? Share your photos and video. Comment below with your thoughts.

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nsaidi
// July 17, 2009
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Before and after »

We opened the flood gates and asked people to depict a before and after sequence for the Photo Club. What resulted was a lot of creativity and a deluge of great photographs. We featured the best ones on CNN.com .

 

A water drop plummets from the faucet and bursts on the surface of a pool. These simple actions, photographed by DKolbay , have a clear before and after sequence.

 

iReporter Ryn captured the spirit of this photo challenge with her photos of her pregnant daughter , Autumn, and then her newborn grandson, Aiden.

 

For the next photo challenge we’re asking you to tell a summertime story with a series of photos. Let the season inspire you!

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zdan
// July 16, 2009
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iReport roundtable: Join us Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

We're looking forward to talking to everyone today at our weekly iReport roundtable meeting. Please invite your friends to join in the discussion.

 

Before we get started, I'd like to let you know about some of the assignments we're working on:

 

Monday is the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing and we'd like you to share your memories of the historic event.

 

We also want to hear what you think about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing.

 

We're also asking some interesting questions about family, community in connection with CNN's "Black in America 2" special, which airs on July 22nd and 23rd.

 

There's also a lot of talk about the new "Harry Potter" movie, so tell us what you think about it, if you've already seen it.

 

You can find all of these topics and a lot more in our Assignment Desk. We update it all the time, so I'd like to encourage everyone to check it regularly to see what we're looking for.

 

We'll open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET to talk about your questions, comments and concerns.

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davidw
// July 16, 2009
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Black in America: Your roots »

Tracing your family’s roots can often be a journey in itself. And, for three iReporters, their family migrations take center-stage in an intricate interactive on CNN.com . These powerful voices personalize the nationwide trends of African-American migrations from 1790 to present day.

 

Listening to family stories and researching archives helped these iReporters find their black roots in America. Neal Kelley goes all the way back his great-great-great grandfather, Valentine Watts, a runaway slave. Sharon Morgan remembers her great-grandmother Rhodie and hears that she’s just like her. And Anita Davenport is immensely proud of her family’s heritage, but wishes there would have been someone in her family to pass down their history.

 

"It’s like I’m on this personal quest because I need to know where I came from and many of us don't know where we came from because of slavery," Sharon Morgan said. "As I find out more and more, it's very exciting because I'm finding these incredible people who survived these horrific times."

 

We hope these stories inspire you to delve into your family’s past. Feel free to share images and tell us about your black roots in America.

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zdan
// July 14, 2009
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iReport Roundtable: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

It's been another great week here at iReport.com and we want to thank you again for all your amazing contributions. We're looking forward to talking to you all today.

 

Before we get started, I want to point out some of the great content you helped produce:

 

* We asked you to send your questions for the "Harry Potter" cast, and today we got their answers.

 

* Katie profiled some dedicated Eggheads, one who even cooks out in the snow.

 

* We also got a dramatic view of the unrest in Iran through the eyes of the Iranian people.

 

We're also working on some cool projects. The 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing is coming up and we want you to share your memories. We'd also like to see your action figure collections  (in honor of the new "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers" movies) and to hear when you knew that your spouse was the one for you.

 

We will open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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davidw
// July 9, 2009
 232 comments
Posted in: community
Calling all grill masters »

A few weeks ago, we asked iReporters whether they were the ultimate grill experts. Thanks to the huge response we received, CNN.com is running a four-part summer series on grilling.

 

We've published two stories so far. Last week, we profiled some iReporters who take barbecuing very seriously, taking part in competitions across the country. And today, iReporters shared their devotion to the versatile Big Green Egg.

 

There have been plenty of mouth-watering photos and videos as well as several new faces on the site. Welcome to SpringChicke, NCBBQ, LisaLuv and the other new cookout pros we've met. Thanks for all the yummy iReports!

 

If you love grilling, we want to hear your story. We're looking for iReporters who have custom-made grills or outdoor kitchens as well as folks who take grilling to the next level -- pushing the limits of what can be grilled or barbecued. Go ahead; let us know what makes you a grill master!

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katie
// July 9, 2009
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Remembering Michael Jackson »

Now that Michael Jackson's memorial service has passed, we'd like to thank you all for sharing such amazing memories and tributes to the legendary performer on iReport.com. The number and quality of submissions was outstanding!

 

 

It's impossible to mention all of the great MJ iReports we received, but there are a few standout submissions. Jm77 grabbed his sketchpad and drew many of the people and scenes outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where the memorial service was held. And wag44 watched the service from New York's Times Square, where he photographed and interviewed other onlookers. Check out this incredible audio slideshow he put together.

 

We also received dozens of memories from fans who had the opportunity to meet Jackson. Whether at Disney World, backstage at a concert, or at Jackson's Neverland Ranch, each of the photos and stories was incredible.

 

 

To see more iReport tributes to Jackson, check out this memory book on CNN.com. Thank you to everyone who was part of this notable coverage.

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katie
// July 8, 2009
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iReport roundtable: Thursday 2:30 p.m. ET »

We'll be holding our weekly iReport roundtable discussion tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. ET. I hope you will join us and invite your friends. These meetings are a great opportunity for us to get to know each other and to talk about what's going on in the iReport community.

 

We're looking forward to talking with you.

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davidw
// July 8, 2009
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Creative spark »

The irony of fire and water comes to a head in an eye-catching photo from GFLIP, one of the many talented and prolific artists who share their work on iReport.com.

 

His usual technique is to set his camera to a long exposure and then move a light source in view of the lens so he can paint with light trails. In this case, he set up the camera and sprinted over to hold up sparklers behind a fire hydrant. The effect creates a striking silhouetted look that he felt was perfect to go along with Fourth of July fireworks. GFLIP told me he sometimes leaves himself in the shot and other times moves in such a fast blur that he remains undetected.

 

The image he sent made it into a CNN.com photo gallery showing fun and creative patriotic photos. What do you think of this technique, and what fun projects are you working on? Share your story on iReport.com and comment below with your thoughts.

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nsaidi
// July 7, 2009
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"Willy Wonka moment" as MJ tickets won »

At first, Michael Jackson fan TommyYune thought he was out of luck. Like countless others hoping to get a chance to attend one of the biggest memorial services ever, he received an e-mail telling him that he did not get chosen to receive a ticket. Then, he scrolled down and found an e-mail with the same subject line saying that he did, in fact, get tickets, something he calls his "Willy Wonka moment."  The Los Angeles resident quickly made plans to head to Dodger Stadium as early as possible this morning to pick up his tickets and golden wristband. In true iReport spirit, he documented his morning.

TommyYune was surprised to find the trip to the stadium "a breeze." He said, "I was expecting gridlock, but there were police who made sure that no one without all the documentation got through."

Referring to himself as a child of the '80s, TommyYune was "dumbfounded" upon learning of Jackson's death. "As it sank in," he said. "it was like he joined the ranks of James Dean and Elvis."

TommyYune hopes to iReport further about his experiences at the memorial tomorrow. "I'm sure all of the fans are looking forward to celebrating what he's done with his life," he said. "He crossed a lot of borders culturally." TommyYune also told his story to CNN.com's Catherine Callaway.

Many iReporters have shared their memories of Jackson and we're looking for more as the memorial service approaches. Click here to share yours.

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hhanks
// July 6, 2009
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iReport roundtable: Thursday 2:30 p.m. ET »

Please join us here in the blog this afternoon for our weekly roundtable discussion. We'll open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

The past couple of weeks have been amazing and we want to thank all of you for your great work. Tyson's already blogged about how your contributions helped CNN.com win the prestigious  Edward R. Murrow Award, but that's only one of the cool things that have happened recently.

 

Here are some of the highlights:

 

* The outpouring of tributes and personal stories about Michael Jackson has been pretty amazing. We've heard from people all over the world since Jackson died. Your stories have added incredible depth to CNN's coverage of the story.

 

* iReporters Pixel and  MarieSager shared their views of the scene at Farrah Fawcett's funeral. Marie also interviewed a man who's been polishing the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the last 10 years.

 

* Jason Dinant reached the end of his "Journey to Change." It's been really interesting to watch his six-month quest for six-pack abs. We want to congratulate Jason for reaching his goal and also thank him for keeping us updated.

  •  

We look forward to talking to everyone and hearing your comments, questions and concerns.

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davidw
// July 2, 2009
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Inspired by Lady Liberty »

When we learned that the crown of the Statue of Liberty would re-open to the public on July 4, we asked for your photos of the American landmark. The crown has been closed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

 

We expected a big response, but were astounded by the quality of photographs you sent in. It seems that Lady Liberty inspires many of you!

 

thepizzaman found an old photograph from a trip to New York in 1964, naiver07 got creative with a fisheye lens, and New Jersey resident JoyfulGypsy submitted countless gorgeous shots, such as this black-and-white portrait and the statue under a full moon.

 

iReport.com newcomer ecco9494 shared a breathtaking shot of a golden sunset behind the Statue of Liberty. "There is nothing more inspiring than seeing this splendid icon in all its glory," she said.

 

Because of the volume of these stunning images, we tried something new and put them together in a photo mosaic on CNN.com. We'd like to experiment like this again in the future, and we’d love to hear what you think.

 

If you've got big Fourth of July plans, be sure to share them with us. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

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katie
// July 2, 2009
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