Blog : September 2009
iReport from your iPhone! »

It just got a whole lot easier to share your story with the world. The brand new CNN App for iPhone and iPod Touch hits the iTunes App Store today, and we're pretty excited about the iReport tools that come with it. With the App, you'll be able to shoot and upload iReports directly to your account, get fresh and local assignments and take a look at the newest "on CNN" iReports.

 

Of course, there are all kinds of other cool CNN features, too, like live streaming video, CNN breaking news alerts, and headlines based on your local area.

 

Photos and videos sent straight from the scene of breaking news have always been a huge part of iReport and now with the CNN App, it's even easier to share stories the moment you spot them.

 

Head over to the App Store to get your own app. We can't wait to see the stories it starts!

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lila
// September 29, 2009
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Big weekend in San Diego »

Chris Morrow was all over the news this weekend. Her film "Wyland Earth Day" debuted at the San Diego Film festival and won the Best San Diego Film Award. The film follows environmental artist Wyland as he paints a huge mural of the Earth on the roof of the Long Beach Arena.

 

Wyland was at the screening with his mom and Chris says several celebrities, most notably Richard Dreyfus and William Shatner, got to see the film.

 

A bunch of iReporters were there to share the experience, including TommyYune, MelissaF, promisenews, TheVideoMan, mvalgal, madmurph, dpkronmiller, Thetalesend and cookiecutter. It was exciting for us to see so many iReporters together and we wish we could have been there.

 

Chris has tons of photos and videos of the festival on her profile page and you can also check out reviews from MelissaF, TheVideoMan and TommyYune.

 

Congratulations Chris!

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davidw
// September 28, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReports on the big screen »

austinchu and his brother set out to travel to U.S. cities that were most affected by the economic recession. They weren’t sure if they would make it through all 50 states, but they wanted to try. Along the way, they shared iReports of what they found on their travels.

Now their journey, which did indeed hit every state in the union, has become a documentary, “The Recess Ends," premiering Wednesday in San Francisco.

“Some of the Midwest cities took us by surprise,” austinchu said. “Detroit is physically devastating. When you look through the eyes of the people, it’s different from what you see in the city itself.”

ChrisMorrow has a documentary premiering soon as well. “Wyland Earth Day” follows the artist Wyland’s attempt to create a massive mural of the earth on top of the Long Beach Convention Center in Calfornia. She shared Wyland’s progress on iReport.com as he raced to finish this project in time for Earth Day, which was fast approaching, and now the full story will be premiering on the big screen at the San Diego Film Festival on Sunday.

It’s quite extraordinary that these remarkable stories will be told as documentaries on the big screen. Of course, these are just two examples of documentarians on iReport.com. If you have a project like this in the works, share your story!

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hhanks
// September 25, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReports on display »

 

Some iReporters' photographs are going on display alongside work from some prominent artists at the Spruill Gallery here in Atlanta.

 

The photos, including the ones up above, will be part of an exhibit called 'on the flip side', which looks at the way cell phones are influencing art, music and photography. The exhibit opens tomorrow and runs through November 7th, so if you're in the Atlanta area, we hope you'll check it out. You can get the details at the Spruill Gallery's Web site.

 

All of the iReports photos in the exhibits were shot on mobile phones and submitted to iReport.com. It's a reminder that even the simplest tools can be used to create powerful images.

 

So, if you see something newsworthy, or just interesting, don't forget to snap a photo with you cell phone and send it to ireport@cnn.com .

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davidw
// September 24, 2009
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iReport roundtable: Thursday @ 2:30 p.m. ET »

Please join us for our weekly iReport roundtable today at 2:30 p.m. ET. We're looking forward to talking to everyone. We've had an exciting week with a lot of interesting stories from around the world – and from our soggy backyards.

 

I want to let everyone know about a couple of community events before we get started:

 

nealmoore is inviting iReporters in the St. Louis, Missouri, area to cover the "Habitat for Humanity St. Louis 2009 Build" on Saturday. They've got 500 volunteers, who will be building brand new homes for low-income families. If you're interested, you can check out Neal's iReport for more information! for more details. It sounds like a good opportunity to meet other iReporters in the area.

 

ChrisMorrow is organizing an iReport meet-up in San Diego on Sunday and is inviting iReporters to cover the San Diego Film Festival. Her film "Wyland: Earth Day" will be premiering at the event and we're looking forward to hearing all about it. You can contact her for more information.

 

Please let us know if you're planning an iReport meet-up in your community or have an event you think iReporters would be interested in, so we can help spread the word. You can email me at david.williams@turner.com or send it to contact@ireport.com.

 

We'll be opening comments at 2:30 p.m. ET and look forward to talking to you.

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davidw
// September 24, 2009
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Life on Mars »

 

Nope, that’s not the red planet. It’s Sydney, Australia, this morning.

Australians woke up today to an atmosphere of reddish-orange haze caused by a massive dust storm. The red cloud was worst in Sydney, but it extended all the way up to Brisbane, 12 hours north.

Australian iReporters are starting to get an idea of what life on Mars would be like. And, luckily for the rest of us, they’re sharing their experience! bennyz said it looks "like a chemical explosion." popstar28 , who can usually see the Sydney opera house from his 36th floor balcony, says all he can see now is orange. "I could smell it before I knew what was happening," he said, adding that many people were wearing masks to go outside. "I thought the world was ending."

Experience what it's like to "wake up on Mars" – according to halans – in these captivating photos and video .

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rachel8
// September 23, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Flood iReports all over the air »

 

Atlanta flood iReports are streaming on live TV almost as soon as they’ve rushed onto iReport.com. Incredible photographs, videos and live interviews have been aired on CNN and HLN all day today.

 

jeffcofer spoke to HLN’s Mike Galanos about being trapped due to a flooded bridge near his neighborhood.

 

danielelia captured neighbors helping each other cross a flooded field in Snellville, Georgia, via canoe. He joined HLN’s Virginia Cha this afternoon to talk about how the community banded together.

 

jaricbrown also told his story on HLN , saying the scene was “overwhelming and frightening” in Woodstock, Georgia. Lake Koinonia breached a dam and washed away earth and trees.

 

rachelreport told HLN’s Chuck Roberts the rushing waters in Acworth, Georgia, were like a disaster documentary come to life.

 

CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras showed several iReports – from a horse rescue to downed trees – in a segment on CNN today.

 

Thank you to all the iReporters who have chronicled the weather in their neck of the woods. You can see all of the Atlanta flood coverage here . Stay safe and stay dry!

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zdan
// September 22, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Ark-worthy weather »

 

As you all know, we’re under water here in Atlanta (although the sun is actually making an appearance at the moment!). The interstates are flooded, so traffic is even worse than usual, and many residents have lost their homes. Our local iReporters have done a fantastic job of chronicling the rain and flooding. Here are some of their best shots:

livingoutlou documented a neighbor rescuing horses from the deep floodwaters. The story and photos are stunning.

allenmay60’s back yard was turned into a waterfall because of overflowing Boggs Creek. Check out his photo – it looks like a river is running through his yard.

davidfortune and techdawg09 shot photos of the virtual lake that was I-75 and I-85 yesterday. The roads had to be completely shut down, stalling traffic for hours.

jasoncjones found a woman being rescued from her flooded car by three neighbors. By the time he took the picture, her car was almost totally underwater.

And danielelia captured a video of a group of kind people using a canoe in the floodwaters to help out their neighbors.

There are many more amazing photos, video, and stories here. Best of luck to all of our Georgia iReporters, and please remember – your safety is always the first priority. Don’t try to capture images for iReport unless you’re sure you can do it safely!

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rachel8
// September 22, 2009
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Calling all St. Louis and San Diego iReporters! »

If you live near the St. Louis area, nealmoore, who has been traveling the Mississippi River for the past few months, has an announcement about an event happening that you might want to participate in this Saturday. He is taking part in the "Habitat for Humanity St. Louis 2009 Build," and members of the iReport community are invited to join him in covering this community project. 500 volunteers will be putting up brand new houses for low-income families.

Check out the video above for more information!

Also this weekend, ChrisMorrow’s film, “Wyland: Earth Day” will be premiering at the San Diego Film Festival, and she is organizing a meet-up on Sunday with other iReporters in the area, who will have the chance to cover that event as well. Contact her for more details!

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hhanks
// September 22, 2009
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iReporters recall Swayze’s “gift of light” to the world »

“When I found out about Patrick Swayze passing away, I just fell apart,” said pancreatic cancer survivor goodwingle. “I felt like this was so unfair that I lived and he didn't....why?”

She was one of several iReporters who shared their personal memories of the actor (who succumbed to that form of cancer on Monday), and how his life and work affected them.

For goodwingle, Swayze was a source of hope and strength. She learned of his diagnosis soon after hers in 2007. She said that she had a “star crush” on him ever since he starred in the mini-series “North and South.” “The media covered him quite a bit and I would listen very closely to see if our progress was about the same.”

After undergoing a major surgery nearly a year ago, she now feels “fantastic,” but feels crushed about Swayze losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.  “I am so sorry to know that Patrick Swayze has stopped making magic on the screen for us.....he will be missed.”

Another iReporter’s memories of Swayze go back to his childhood. Raylea saw him many times when he would visit a dance studio run by a friend of his mother’s. “He was dressed in a sort of recital suit, and was very controlled and  secure while dancing,” she said. “I remember him as energetic, aggressive, a little fireball.” You can watch a video of Raylea relating more of her memories here.

Diamondlil has been a fan of Swayze’s since seeing him in “The Outsiders.” “He was great for the part, brought a depth and caring to the character but strength and anger as well,” she said.

She admitted to catching “Swayze fever” in the late 1980s when the actor first hit it big, and in 1994, she had the chance to meet him at a Planet Hollywood event in 1994.

“I believe we only saw the tip of the iceberg of this amazing man's talent,” she said. “Thank you, Patrick for the gift of light you were to this world.”

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hhanks
// September 18, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Education, veterans and beyond »

 

Our big What If? special is in its second week and we couldn't be happier with the response we've gotten so far. We've explored education and veterans' issues, and are now challenging iReporters to go out and find common ground with someone who has opposite political viewpoints. It should be a fun assignment, and we're looking forward to what you come up with.

 

Also, if you haven't marked October 10 in your calendar, do it now! We’re asking iReporters all over the world to donate a few hours or money to a cause of their choice, document their volunteer efforts, and post their photos and videos here on the site.

 

If you're looking for volunteer opportunities near you, VolunteerMatch, Network for Good and serve.gov may be good places to start. We can’t wait to see what we'll accomplish together!

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katie
// September 18, 2009
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Photos hooked on a feeling »

 

The iReport Photo Club is about more than just snapping a nicely composed image. Photography can be a powerful tool for sending a message. In the latest challenge, iReporters conveyed an emotion in photos, whether it was a smiling face or something more abstract.

 

As temperatures begin to fall and the colors outside start to change, we’d like you to get outside and capture the signs of autumn . Happy fall!

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zdan
// September 17, 2009
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Posted in: stories
iReport roundtable: Thursday 2:30 p.m. ET »

Please join us today in our weekly iReport roundtable discussion.

 

We just launched a new installment of our "What if?"    series and are looking forward to talking with you about it. This time we're asking people to have a civil conversation with someone who disagrees with their political beliefs. I think this is going to be really interesting, because we really try to encourage constructive dialogue here on iReport.com.

 

CNN.com just published katie's story on iReporters' experiences interviewing veterans. She did a great job on the story, and iReporters Pixel , EWillies1961 , NMousa and deletrius6 gave us really intimate and personal material to work with. Here's the link so you can check it out .

 

We'll also be happy to discuss any questions, comments or concerns you may have, and nsaidi has a special surprise planned, so have your webcams ready.

 

See you at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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davidw
// September 17, 2009
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'Honeymoon bailout' a big success »

Jeebee25 told us about how he and his fiancee' were dealing with financial issues and paying for a wedding. He also mentioned his "honeymoon bailout" idea and posted a video. He stormed social networking sites, asking for contributions of $1.00 each, hoping to raise $1000 in time for his honeymoon. Yesterday, Jeebee25 was happy to report that they met their goal, and then some.


"Currently we are at $1167.87," he said. "I think I had two people donate a single dollar. Then it moved on up to anywhere from $5 to $100. So now we have a nice sum for spending and have to write a lot of thank you notes."


Have you found a clever way of dealing with the economy? Share your story with the community.

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hhanks
// September 16, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Mind your manners, Kanye »

Families still practicing the ancient art of the sit-down dinner are serving up more than dinner rolls and corn on the cob. iReporter adriana71 always talks about the news with her kids, but she says she's rarely had such a great instructional opportunity as during this past week's three-course meal of public outbursts from Rep. Joe Wilson, tennis star Serena Williams and rapper Kanye West. She normally has to make up stories for examples, but not this time around. Wilson's "You lie!" comment during President Obama's speech drew sharp criticism from her panel of youngsters.

"Daniel’s eyes almost popped out his skull. James shook his head, saying, 'That’s not right.' Alexis made the face: I don’t wanna know happened to him (Mr. Wilson)."

She said the kids got a sobering lesson in sportsmanship when they saw Williams slapped with a fine, because behavior on the court or field is something most children can relate to from their own sports experience: "The kids know never to argue with the ref, as you will only cause more damage." Finally, the kids got a lesson in self control from West. adriana71 said her kids didn't know much about the rapper, but they knew enough that they had better not duplicate his actions. West was seen drinking before the MTV Video Music Awards and she used that as another example for the kids.

Take it from 14-year-old iReporter cam4573: "Even if he thought Beyonce should have won the award, [West] should have never taken the microphone from [singer Taylor Swift] and humiliated her in front of thousands of viewers."

cam4573 and several iReporters indicated they thought celebrities and politicians were addicted to the spotlight. And then AyishaG said she thought people were making too big of a deal out of the outbursts -- because everyone has one sometimes -- and wondered if they were even intentional. Similarly, MrIsaacs called the authenticity of West's outrage into question and opened up a passionate iReport.com discussion on whether the rapper was engaging in a staged publicity stunt. Liberty1955, father of college-age daughters, says he thinks people have a greater sense of "self-importance" nowadays evident everywhere from the road to the Tube. He notes that his parents spent time with him to teach him right from wrong and parents have to spend more time with their kids. He also expressed curiosity at whether the stresses of the economy are making people in general a little more uptight.

What discussion is taking place at your house? West was seen on the verge of tears and rambling emotionally during a poignant moment when Jay Leno asked him how his mother would have reacted to the MTV incident during opening night of "The Jay Leno Show." What would your parents say, and what are you saying to your kids if you have them? Make a video, tell us what you think and help us continue the discussion on public civility. And then, pass the peas. We're starving.

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nsaidi
// September 15, 2009
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Same event, different iReports »

You might think that two iReporters covering the same event would come up with pretty much the same iReports... But you’d be wrong.  BLAKEINHOU and EWillies1961 both attended one of the many tea parties put on by conservative activists on Saturday, but they approached their coverage in distinct ways and ended up with two very different stories. (View photo gallery)

BLAKEINHOU, who had attended an earlier tea party back in April, was taken by the preponderance of American flag imagery at this one, including a red-white-and-blue drink being served at the bar. He shared some very colorful images of the event in Alief, Texas.

EWillies1961, who has been outspoken in support of President Obama’s policies, had recently attended a health care rally where both sides were present. This time, he shared videos showing highlights of the tea party and interviewed many of the attendees, including an unemployed veteran and unverified descendants of Daniel Boone. He challenged them on some of their beliefs, especially on health care reform, but the conversations were very civil, and in some cases, he found common ground with them.

It’s great to see how iReporters can give a different take on the same event. If you’re attending an event at the same time as other iReporters, let us know (and don’t forget to say hello to your iReport colleagues)!

(Special thanks to ChrisMorrow for alerting iReporters to the event.)

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hhanks
// September 14, 2009
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To 9/11 and back »

 

Eight years since 9/11, the anniversary of the terror attacks still brings back memories of a frightening, but unifying, time. We were moved by a collaboration between sjunat55 and JoyfulGypsy featuring memorial tributes photographed in New York and New Jersey, respectively. The photos are stunning and illustrate the somber anniversary. To see two talented iReporters working together was heartwarming, and we are excited at the possibility that others will be inspired by their project.

 

TheVideoMan, another iReporter, described 9/11 as baby boomers' version of Pearl Harbor. He interviewed neighbors and friends to find out where they were and what they remember that day. Fellow Californian Pixel visited a field of flags at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Such displays have become a tradition all across the United States as each anniversary date passes. And former New Yorker NakedBoyNews (now of Las Vegas, Nevada) also gave his take, looking back on what he says was a time when people pulled together.

 

"Let's all go back to September 12, 2001, when we made sure our neighbors were OK. We called our families and said, 'I love you.' We went home for a visit."

 

We thank iReporters sharing unique personal takes on this national anniversary, giving us a window into their memories from this time. Share your thoughts here and send us your own story if you'd like.

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nsaidi
// September 11, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Beachside kitty condos »

Who lives here? This stretch of tiny cat houses along a strip of sand in Gold Beach, Oregon, really made us think. iReporter HappyCat66 shot photos of the stretch of homes for strays, as well as a little boat made just for felines. She says the homes were put there to help feral cats and she's seen a couple of kitties wandering around.

We also think it's pretty sweet that HappyCat66's real name is Kitty Johnson. This is all a coincidence, as far as we can tell. So take a look and share your own awesome images if you have them.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// September 10, 2009
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iReport roundtable »

We're looking forward to talking to everyone today in our weekly roundtable discussion. It's been an exciting week here at iReport.com.

 

Thanks to everyone who helped us brainstorm last week for our "What if?" project.  The first installment of the special launched this week, so I'd encourage everyone to check it out.

 

We'll open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET, so you can share your questions, comments and concerns.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// September 10, 2009
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Life with an allergy injector »

Editor's note: Health writer/producer Elizabeth Landau penned this post to discuss her experiences working with iReporters on a CNN.com story about those who rely on allergy injectors..

For most of my life I’ve known that I can’t eat nuts or seafood. Like some of our iReporters, I have been carrying an epinephrine auto-injector in case of emergency for many years.

None of us have ever used them on our own bodies, but we know that, if we ingest a particular food or get stung by a certain insect, this could be the only recourse to unblock our airways and help us breathe until we get to the emergency room. Allergists such as Dr. Jeffrey Adelglass of Allergy Testing & Treatment Center in Plano, Texas recommend that anyone who has severe allergy problems, and is at risk for a potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis, make an epinephrine auto-injector “part of their daily wardrobe.”

It was inspiring to learn how iReporter Eileen Hoekstra of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and her friend worked with their children’s school to ensure that the staff would be trained in food allergies. Now, she can send her son to school knowing that even the bus driver understands allergic reactions. I was also encouraged that Patty of New York City had recognized severe allergic reactions in other people on two separate occasions and helped save their lives.

I included several iReporters' anecdotes in a story I wrote about how living with an allergy injector affects a person's life, and having all of these stories gave me a variety of perspectives beyond my own. Along the way, I spoke with Michelle Kelly from East Orange, New Jersey, who has eliminated Thai and Chinese food from her diet because so many of those meals have a high probability of containing nuts. I completely sympathized with that, as I also avoid these cuisines for the same reason. And, like Becky Vogt of Franklin Park, New Jersey, I read the labels of every supermarket food I buy, and every hair care product I use, to make sure that there’s no allergen inside. We all have to be extra vigilant to shield ourselves from things that are everywhere, and that most other people take for granted.

It’s encouraging that there are other people out there spreading awareness of the severity of allergies. Even if I can never eat lox again, the more people know about allergies, the safer eating will be for those who have this condition.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// September 10, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Roundtable reminder: Thursday @ 2:30 p.m. ET »

We'll look forward to talking to you tomorrow about what's going on in our community.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// September 9, 2009
 0 comments
Posted in: community
A minute of your time please »

Hello friends,
I wanted to share a quick update on CNN.com’s collaborative art project.

Behind the scenes, we’re busy putting together a plan we think is going to be engaging, and a whole lot of fun. More details to come – for now, a teaser: We’re only asking for a minute of your time.

 

We’ve had a phenomenal response to our sign-up sheet -- thank you brave volunteers!

There’s room for additional players so if you are interested in joining in on the fun, here’s what you need to do: Send an email toArtProject@iReport.com and be sure to share the following information to ensure your participation in this project:

What’s your name?
Where do you live?
Do you have access to a camera or mobile device that can shoot at least one minute of video?
One word to describe your daily routine.

Thanks again. Your participation is key to this project’s success.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by: tyson // September 9, 2009
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Posted in: community
Save the date »

 

On Saturday, October 10, we're asking iReporters to set aside an hour or two of their time to volunteer or donate to a charity. We'll provide more details as the date nears, but want to start spreading the word. It's all part of our big What If? special on CNN.com.

 

So, think about what you'd like to do on October 10. You can pick up trash, mentor a child, or help out at a soup kitchen – whatever you'd like!

 

Share your volunteer ideas in the comments below and check out the Assignment Desk for additional details soon. And, if you're on Facebook, feel free to RSVP to the volunteer event.

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katie
// September 8, 2009
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Debate on Obama's speech in schools »

 

Should educational institutions show President Barack Obama's planned speech to schools? This question has evoked passionate debate between those who feel the speech is part of students' ongoing education on current affairs and those who say the president is making an inappropriate attempt to persuade children on his views.

iReporter Cameron Harrelson (username: cam4573), a student in Baxley, Georgia, says he enjoys his family's lively political discussions and feels the president's speech should be watched at home. He describes himself as politically conservative but adds he would like to see the school environment remain politically neutral. "I think that Obama is just trying to impose his political views on us as students, and also I believe that he sees this as an opportunity to win students' support, and vote, in 2012," he said.

Taking the reverse viewpoint, iReporter Omékongo Dibinga (username: omekongo) said not showing off the speech is "cutting off the ability to have a real dialogue." Students would be missing out on a valuable educational experience on current affairs, as well as a lesson on understanding others' viewpoints. omekongo also said he believed the president would not politicize the speech, referring to Sen. Ted Kennedy's funeral as an example. "At the end of the day, why can't we have all our children listen to our president and talk to them about their decisions?"

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Watch the two iReporters' videos head-to-head and share your reaction in the comments below or in a concise video. Parents, how do you feel about your children possibly seeing the speech at school? If you're a student, tell us your views and tell us what your school is planning to do. Then, watch the discussion Tuesday and tell us what you thought.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// September 7, 2009
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Posted in: stories
Your help digging in CIA documents »

Editor's note: The following blog post is from CNN.com Producer Thom Patterson -- who is digging into formerly classified CIA documents and discussing his findings right here on iReport.com. He invites you to read along, and join the conversation.

 

A top secret internal report pulls back the curtain on the CIA’s treatment of suspected al Qaeda terrorists held in U.S. prisons.

 

I'm fascinated by this newly declassified report and we’re interested in what you can find within its 160-odd pages.  

 

A lot of the sentences in the report have literally been blacked out by government censors. But some of the once-secret info has been revealed. As I read through it – on page 19 of Part 2 -- the CIA describes a debriefer who – in 2002 -- entered a jail cell where the alleged mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole Abd al-Rahin: “al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to al-Nashiri's head. On what was probably the same day, the debriefer used a power drill to frighten AI-Nashiri.”

 

We so rarely get a look inside the shrouded activities of the CIA. But political pressure has prompted the CIA to release this once hidden document and now iReporters can join CNN.com while we discuss new details about went on behind the walls of a secret prison.

 

Were any laws broken? Will the U.S. prosecutor assigned to review these CIA activities use any of the information contained in this document against a U.S. official? It’s too soon to know.

 

I'd like your help. Crowd sourcing projects continue to play a significant role in newsgathering -- and there’s no shortage of groundbreaking examples to draw inspiration from  -- including a 2007 Talking Points Memo project where readers where asked to help comb through thousands of pages of  Department of Justice documents.  

 

I’ll be looking for your input on this. Here’s where you can find the CIA report.  

 

Tell me what you’ve found in the report and put your comments right here on the iReport blog -- or upload your video on iReport.com.

Posted by: tyson // September 4, 2009
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Posted in: community
iReport roundtable: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

We're looking forward to talking to you today about a really cool project we're working on called "What If?"

 

CNN is asking iReporters to offer solutions to some of the world's biggest problems. Right now, we're asking what if veterans had a bigger voice in government, what if you didn't have a car, and what if our education system worked better.

 

We want to invite you to participate in this project and answer any questions you might have. We'll also discuss any other questions or concerns you may have. Comments will open at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// September 3, 2009
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Posted in: community
What if? Let's find out! »

 

There are plenty of problems in the world. Together, as members of the Internet community, we can try and solve them. That's the premise behind an upcoming CNN.com special called "What If?"

 

One problem we're particularly interested in is the United States' dependence on foreign oil. We wondered what a car-free day would look like and asked you to show us. I joined in the challenge yesterday and filmed this video of my bus ride, and fellow Atlantan Asiegel1202 documented his bike trip through a busy shopping area.

 

We want to see stories from more than just Atlanta, of course. I'd love to see what a day without driving looks like for those of you living in rural areas. Is it possible? Show us!

 

We're also planning to explore the growing needs of war veterans and problems in our education system. You can join those discussions by interviewing a veteran on camera and showing us what's working in the school system where you live.

 

This special won't be a success without your participation. Some of the assignments require a bit of work, but we promise the payoff will be big.

 

So ask yourself, "What if?" and get out there and try something new! There are other challenges coming, so keep an eye on our Assignment Desk for more. We'll also update the iReport blog with the latest stories.

Posted by:
 
katie
// September 3, 2009
 13 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
As the wildfire grows »

Thanks to neutrinotank and maser for sending in such incredible time-lapse videos of the rapidly spreading wildfire in Southern California. The Station Fire, which has been burning for six days, has charred nearly 122,000 acres.

 

Are you in the area? Share your photos and video of the wildfire and, as always, please stay safe.

Posted by:
 
katie
// September 1, 2009
 50 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
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