The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Two iReporters, as well as CNN’s Campbell Brown, along 25,000 others,attended the Women’s Conference in Long Beach, California, earlier this week.
The conference’s mission was to “empower, inspire and educate” women, and the speakers there had lots of advice on how to accomplish that, as ChrisMorrow found.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “Women often sit in meetings or class and don’t say what they think, so my advice to women is to always interrupt.”
Dr. Jane Goodall offered her advice as well: “The most important thing is to be happy with who they are, and if you really want something just carry on until you get it.”
Check out ChrisMorrow’s video for more words of wisdom from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Sir Richard Branson, actress Sharon Lawrence, Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg, and others.
For MelissaF, the Women’s Conference was a major step in her weight loss journey. A few weeks ago, she interviewed one of her idols, “The Biggest Loser’s” Jillian Michaels over the phone for CNN iReport, and this inspired her to look at exercise in a new way. At the conference, she got the chance to meet Michaels in person, and to thank her for getting her motivated to lose ten pounds so far. Check out MelissaF’s video of the big moment here.
We’re always on the lookout for other inspiring stories on CNN iReport, and if you have one, don’t hesitate to share it with the community.
Some people make spiced cider, others dress up as Santa Claus. My annual fall-to-winter ritual is watching the stream of snowy iReports come through. You know it's officially wintrytime (not "winter," but "wintry") when you start seeing photos of snow piling up on grills, lawns, chairs, lawn chairs and everything else upon which snow can collect. jacobrtaylor and his father shot excellent photos showing the impact of roughly 20 inches of snow in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. They not only photographed the lawn furniture, but also showed their footprints and placed a ruler in the snow for added value. Kudos to jacobrtaylor for showing us the signs of the season.
Another cool thing we start seeing is iReporters getting on camera to tell us about the weather. iReporter stickergiant set his camera on a tripod and headed out dutifully to show the flakes falling on his head. He even pulled his hood up over his head for effect. We don't want you to put yourself in danger, but we do think it's neat when an iReporter (within reason) shows us the weather near them. And finally, we love it when iReporters like Willsackmann make things like giant snow forts. Gotta love that. How's the weather where you are? Got western storms? Take pictures or put yourself on camera. Or, just comment here. Share your story with CNN.
Join us in our blog today at 3 p.m. ET for our weekly roundtable discussion. We're looking forward to hearing what you think of the new CNN iReport section now that you've had a few days to play with it.
A lot of people have joined the CNN iReport community this week, so we would like to say hello to newcomers and invite them to join us in the discussion.
We'll open comments on this blog post at 3 p.m. so you can leave your questions and comments and then members of Team iReport will respond.
We'll talk to you at 3 p.m. ET.
We've gotten a lot of new members to the CNN iReport community this week, so we wanted to take a moment to welcome you all and let you know what you're getting into.
Things work a little differently here than on the rest of CNN.com, because all of the stories in this section were either created or inspired by users like you. We can't wait for you to add your perspective to CNN's coverage.
Here's how you can get started:
Register with CNN iReport: If you already have a CNN member services account, you'll still have to create a screen name. Be sure to give us your phone number so we can contact you about your iReports (Don't worry, it will only be visible to CNN editors).
Upload an avatar photo and fill out your profile: This is your chance to share your personality with the rest of the CNN iReport community, so have fun with it. Tell us where you're from, what you like to do and any other details about your life that you want to share.
Start telling your story: You can go to our assignment desk (http://www.ireport.com/community/assignment) to see what stories CNN is focusing on each day. Or you can go straight to our upload page to send your videos, photos or audio iReports.
Check out other stories: We get amazing stories every day from iReporters all over the world. CNN iReport producers will be featuring the most newsworthy and compelling stories on the front page of our section.
Meet other iReporters: You can get to another iReporter's profile page by clicking on their avatar image. Then you can read their bios and send private messages. Another good way to meet people here is to comment on interesting iReports.
Meet Team iReport: We hold a weekly roundtable discussion in our blog where you can ask questions, discuss story ideas or talk about any concerns you may have. You also can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You've probably noticed that CNN iReport has a whole new look and feel -- including a brand new homepage inside CNN.com.
The new look is designed to showcase your stories and the many ways they enhance CNN’s global news reporting every day.
CNN iReport producers are eager to feature your work, and while there’s no guarantee your iReport will appear on the new homepage, the ones that do share some common traits.
iReports that make it to the homepage typically:
Are tied to the news of the day
Provide a perspective or angle on a story that isn’t available anywhere else
Include the components of a good story -- the who, what, why, where and when
A few final, but important, tips: If you want your story to be featured, make sure that all the content in your iReport, including text and images, is your own. Also, please add a phone number to your private profile so CNN producers can call you with questions, and upload an avatar image to your profile so we can feature your work in our new “voices” section.
If you follow these tips, you’ll have a great chance of having your stories showcased on the new CNN iReport homepage, but not just there. You’ll notice your iReport submissions in stories, photo galleries, video interactives, and sections across CNN.com –- just more validation that CNN producers are committed to showcasing your content. After all, your contributions make CNN’s reporting and storytelling better every day.
We hope to see your stories on CNN soon!
You may be wondering why we didn't keep the "ON CNN" stamp when we redesigned the site. We were pretty fond of the stamp and hated to see it go, but it just didn't make sense now that every iReport is posted in a section of CNN.com.
Since CNN iReport is a part of the CNN Web site, it's more important than ever that we indicate which stories have been vetted by members of CNN's editorial newsgathering team. Those stories are now marked with a red, CNN iReport tag.
We get tons of amazing iReports every day, and unfortunately, we can't vet all of them. So stories that haven't been vetted are labeled "Not vetted by CNN" to avoid confusion. We're not making any judgments about the quality of the iReports with the “Not Vetted by CNN” label, we just want everyone to know that we haven't both vetted and cleared them for use in CNN's newsgathering.
The great thing is CNN.com readers will be able to see and discuss your stories, even if they are not vetted.
If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments below or e-mail them to contact@iReport.com.
Our developers just told us that they'll be rolling out a software patch on Tuesday for some of the bugs CNN iReport users have reported.
-- The deployment will fix several problems, including:
-- Users not being able to send private messages in Internet Explorer 8
-- Thumbnails showing up incorrectly in Facebook and Digg
-- Links not changing colors after you click on them
We've also simplified the language on the “welcome” overlay screen and made the "I get it" check box easier to see.
Thanks to everyone who reported these issues. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know in the comments.
Please join us here in the blog at 12:30 p.m. ET to talk about all the big changes we've made at CNN iReport and ask any questions you have about the section.
Our developers have been working tirelessly to stamp out some nagging bugs, and we'd like you to let us know if you're having any trouble.
If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works – we'll open the comments on this post at 12:30 p.m. ET and you can jump in and ask your questions. Members of Team iReport will answer as many of your questions as we can.
Before we get started, I'd like to encourage you to watch this video from iReporter MelissaF. She checked out the CNN iReport section over the weekend and did a great job explaining all of the new features.
We're looking forward to talking to you at 12:30 p.m. ET.
(All 395,759 of you, in 209 countries, who have contributed 376,586 personal, shocking, sweet, urgent, impassioned, hilarious, beautiful, riveting, bizarre, smart and critically important stories to CNN’s global news coverage in the last 3 years)
The next time you hear James Earl Jones’ impressive baritone say “THIS is CNN,” he'll be talking about you.
Because today iReport officially becomes part of CNN.com. We’re throwing off our blue banner and our separate URL and moving inside the world’s leading site for news and information. We’re doing it because we know that together, CNN and iReport paint a more complete picture of the news.
What does the move mean exactly? For starters, it means iReport.com now redirects to CNN.com/ireport. It also means the millions of people who visit CNN.com every day can get to iReport from the top of every single page. But most importantly, it means that iReport is truly a part of CNN.
Most of the nuts and bolts of iReport will remain the same. CNN will still put iReports through our editorial vetting process before we use them in CNN coverage (you’ll know the ones that have been cleared for CNN by the “CNN iReport” stamp in the corner), and the way you post stories works the same as always. One big change is that our new homepage is now managed by the iReport team, whose job will be to highlight the best of iReport every day.
Over the next few days, I and the rest of the iReport Team will be checking in here on the blog to introduce some of the features we’re most excited about and talk about what you think of the changes and how they’re working. (Join us today at 12:30 ET for a roundtable conversation here on the blog.)
In the meantime, I sure hope you’ll take a look around. And by all means, if you’ve got a story to share, please do. That’s why we’re here.
We've gotten a lot of questions about all of the changes here at CNN iReport, so we're hosting a special iReport roundtable discussion at 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, October 26th. Please join us to talk about all of our new features and bring up any concerns you may have. iReporters have given us a lot of great feedback since we flipped the switch on Saturday and our developers are working hard on bug fixes.
Here are some of the known issues:
-- “Report Violation” is link too close to “read more” on long comments
-- Some iReporters are having trouble replying to private messages
-- The "Superstar" bug overlaps the screen name for some users
-- The "I get it" box is too faint on the welcome screen
-- The "I get it" box isn't accessible in Safari on an iPhone.
If you have any other questions, comments or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below. We'll leave comments open here until 12 p.m. ET tomorrow.
You probably noticed that iReport looks a lot different this morning. We're pretty tickled. Lots more to come about what it means and how it works, but for now please take a look around and let us know what you think in the comments!
Big and exciting changes are on the way for iReport.com, and a few iReporters -- professirx, JoyfulGypsy, sjunat55, mcintron, maggiedo and spooly -- got a sneak peek last night in New York. Take a look:
From CNN’s Errol Barnett
When you see the pitch black video shot by Amara Nwankpa in Nigeria you’re tempted to wonder what he’s trying to show you until you realize the darkness is the point. He drives around his neighborhood showing many homes in the dark except for those paying to run their own generators. His iReports also show business owners complaining that irregular power cuts into their profits. Yet, Nigeria is rich with natural gas and oil resources and its number one client is the U.S, so what’s going on?
Amara says it’s a “failure of governance” and he wants change. He’s using iReport , Twitter, Facebook and other social media to get it. He calls his social media movement “Light up Nigeria.” Hundreds of supportive messages on Twitter can be seen under #LightUpNigeria, tens of thousands of people have joined their Facebook group and all this has mobilized action around the world.
In London, a group of supporters demonstrated outside the Nigerian High Commission. In Washington D.C., a Nigerian event included speeches on the energy problems of the country. In Nigeria’s capital, Amara has held town halls encouraging his country mates to speak out and more events are planned.
I took notice of all of Amara’s efforts and decided to reach out to him via webcam for an interview, which we had to do twice because of power problems. We were also able to get the Government of Nigeria to respond to the issue – see CNN’s coverage here. But this story is far from over. We want to hear more from CNN viewers in and from Nigeria with views on this issue so upload your own story to the new “Light up Nigeria” assignment page.
We hope you'll join us today for our weekly roundtable discussion. We're looking forward to talking to you about any questions, comments or concerns your may have.
This is an open forum for us to get to know each other better, so you're welcome to bring up any topic you like.
We'll open comments at 3 p.m. ET and you can follow and join in the discussion there.
The Balloon Boy saga was pretty surreal. We saw everything from satire to serious commentary as iReporters tried to wrap their heads around the speculation that young Falcon Heene of Fort Collins, Colorado, had really gone up in a silver balloon. The story got even more interesting when authorities said father Richard Heene had created a hoax to attract media attention.
Our comedians had a field day with this one. HumorGazette of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, took a hit of helium on camera to lampoon the high-flying antics, and Artboy did a brilliant mash-up cartoon satirizing Barack Obama as a "Balloon Boy" hanging on to soaring political issues during his presidency. We also saw a Balloon Boy Halloween costume that crazyleg repurposed for a young "Balloon Girl."
LatriciaW made a video with her 13-year-old son pretending to vomit into a pot, just like Falcon did during live TV interviews. She wanted to make fun of the circus surrounding the notion of mischievous little boys in "Jiffy Pop spaceships." When I spoke to her, she said she had a serious point to make: "When he was getting sick on television most people would have said OK, stop this interview. People were too busy going on with the interview like the kid doesn't matter." She went on to say she thought people felt a little perturbed about being fooled.
And, bizarrely enough, Richard Heene was an iReporter who had already submitted a weather story. CNN's Abbi Tatton did a recent segment on how people had been concerned about the Heene children's safety last year when the storm piece came out.
This is just a tiny sampler platter of the commentary we received about the Balloon Boy story. What’s your take? Send us an iReport or comment here.
If the status of our current economy can be measured in our pleasures and poisons, former tattoo artist WausauFamily believes we may be just turning a corner. When WausauFamily sold his shop in 2006, the economy was doing well and getting tattoos was a popular activity for many. He didn't want to be in the business for the rest of his life, so he left while his operation was strong. He figured the economy was probably affecting his old shop, so he interviewed the new owners to find out how things were going. He says he was told customers have indicated they are doing better financially. He also heard that patrons are starting to ink themselves more again after cooling their tattoo expenditures during the height of the recession.
"This was a business that depended on the 'extras' left over from their customers' budgets and living expenses to stay afloat."
WausauFamily says he has about 40 tattoos of his own. He speculated that many people had a few bucks left on their paychecks and decided to use that dough to buy a new design. Without the spare change, they might be hesitant to spring for a luxury like that. Meanwhile, removing tattoos is more expensive than creating them, so decisions to get tattoos should not be taken lightly. WausauFamily says he is in the process of trying to remove tattoos on his neck because he has begun to change his mind about them.
Still, things are better this year than last year, he says. He has a couple hundred more dollars per month than he used to. "It's good for now, we'll see how it does," he says. We're thrilled that he shared his story and made this video about this local tattoo shop, because it shows how macro events translate into ordinary people's lives. WausauFamily says he hopes others will find hope and take action as a result of the recession.
"I'm big on hope. Our family, we do a lot of things on the side in the community to help people along," he said. "We're really hoping it isn't going to be as rough as last year."
Joe and Jill Wood were frustrated. After losing much of their regular income, they asked their bank to modify their mortgage loan. So when CNN’s Jessica Yellin mentioned the iReport assignment about mortgage nightmares, they told the story of what they say took place after they tried to get the loan changed. The Woods’ story was eventually told on the air when CNN producers contacted them for a piece about the Obama administration’s mortgage program.
Have you had mortgage issues as well? Tell us your story and you too could be on CNN.
We'll be holding our weekly iReport roundtable at a new time starting today, so we hope you'll join us here at 3 p.m. ET.
One of the things I'd like to talk about today is what can we do to help new users feel welcomed in the community. We'll also be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you have.
We will open comments at 3 p.m. ET.
Hey college students, we’re looking for a talented intern to join Team iReport this spring at CNN Center in Atlanta.
A few things you should know:
Our fearless intern will work with the editorial team behind CNN iReport -- an extension of CNN.com -- helping lead CNN's user-generated news content, participatory media and community efforts. Our intern will also get the chance to learn from a host of CNN professionals across platforms.
The Deadline to apply is December 11, 2009. Go here for more details and to formally apply.
Thousands of gay rights activists took to the streets Sunday during the National Equality March in Washington, calling for equality in marriage and an end to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"They were nice, excited, boisterous and joyful,” said iReporter Qbubbles of the activists. “They didn't seem angry so much as anxious for something to happen.”
“The whole town has been buzzing,” said iReporter EricaAmerica, who grabbed her camera and spoke to activists crowding outside The White House, many of whom had traveled out of state to take part in the march. and equality in marriage
From CNN.com Live Associate Producer Sarah Hill: When the CNN.com Live team was working on "City Zoom," the second installment of the series “My Online Life,” we were expecting stories of new restaurants and getting lost on the way to the grocery store.
What we got were new and different ways to learn about the city you’re in. iReporters Taryn P. and Steve Burns turned us on to “Tweetups.” Through Twitter, people turn their online community into real life friendships and networking when they meet for mingling.
iReporter Kristy Griggs kept the new ideas coming, pointing us to her blog about transplanting into a new city. By sharing her experiences, she hopes she can help other people with an adjustment to a new city.
All of these iReporters were featured in Friday’s installment of “My Online Life.” If you have unique experiences to share about how your time on line helps your time offline, send us an iReport and let us know!
DesireG, whose unique editing and outspoken nature has a way of sparking conversation on iReport.com, has done it again in a big way. In her most recent iReport, she made her opinion known that she felt that Americans were “afraid” to do what was needed to fix the economy due to greed.
PunjabiPower felt inspired to quote Michael Douglas in “Wall Street,” when he said, “Greed is good.” He asked why greed is something that should be punished when it “created the economic engine” of both the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Take a look at DesireG and PunjabiPower’s videos above, and sound off here if you would like to weigh in as well.
If you're making plans for this weekend, we hope you'll set aside an hour or two on Saturday to join in a volunteer activity. As part of our big What If? special, we're asking iReporters around the world to donate their time or money to a cause of their choice.
You can pick up trash, mentor a child, or help out at a soup kitchen – whatever you'd like! All you have to do is share photos and videos of your volunteer efforts.
Let us know what you plan to do on October 10 in the comments below, and if you’re on Facebook, feel free to RSVP to the volunteer event!
Hi everyone. David is traveling today, so there will be no roundtable meeting. We hope you’ll join us next Thursday at our new time, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET. If you have comments or questions in the meantime, you can leave them in the comments. See you next week!
Both of them were at home in Moreno Valley, California, when they heard an explosion nearby. A massive cloud of smoke filled the sky when they ran outside to investigate with their cameras. Both of them described it as sounding as though a bomb went off. “This thing went up so fast, you would think it could have taken out the neighborhood,” mvalgal said. She caught some immediate images of the scene, while TheVideoMan interviewed firefighters and others responding to the fire, which officials confirmed to CNN was caused by "improperly discarded smoking materials."
Their iReports got the attention of CNN TV, and because the footage was of such high quality, it was the first iReport featured in a segment with Nicole Lapin and Tony Harris. Check it out here. Meanwhile, if breaking news happens where you live, share your photos and video with the iReport community.
When we first spotted Jack Quavis’ videos on iReport.com, they immediately caught our attention. That’s why we’re so excited that the longtime iReporter and owner of Taylor Mae’d Barber Shop in Buffalo, New York, is getting some recognition on the homepage of CNN.com today.
Quavis records candid conversations with his customers on camera – often about politics -- while he trims their hair. His most frequent customer is Tom Ammo, a 45-year-old ironworker who’s known the barber since high school. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ammo, and he offered some great anecdotes about the barbershop.
Ammo brings coffee and donuts by Taylor Mae’d once a week and the old friends chat for hours. In addition to the usual political topics, he recently started giving video predictions for upcoming Buffalo Bills games. Although his record’s not too good so far, he hopes it will improve.
Talking to Ammo helped explain why so many customers readily shared their thoughts on camera in Quavis’ shop. “He’s a hell of a guy,” Ammo said. “Not too many people have the gift of gab and the ability to get people to talk.”
Pixel has been a member of the iReport.com community since the beginning, so we were really excited to see over the weekend that her work has gotten more than a million page views on the site.
Pixel's first iReport was a photo of the Malibu wildfires in February, 2008. Since then she's covered a a tattoo expo, yoga competitions and dragon boat races, as well as Iranian election protests in Los Angeles, a fire truck caught in a sinkhole and the release of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. She's also interviewed firefighters battling to save Southern California homes, a veteran coping with life at home and a worried mother searching for her missing daughter.
One of the reasons Pixel has been so successful is that she finds interesting angles in the stories she covers – she asks questions that prompt compelling answers; gets a variety of footage; and covers stories that are interesting on both a local and international level.
Thanks again for all the great work Pixel. We can't wait to celebrate milestones with other iReporters, so please be sure to share your accomplishments with us.
We've noticed pink all over the site lately thanks to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
iReporter mherlan1 took part in a three-mile walk Sunday in Rochester, New York to raise money for breast cancer. Although it was a drizzly afternoon, thousands attended the walk, many with pink umbrellas and raincoats.
In Huntsville, Alabama, the local newspaper went pink on October 1 in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. WesNSpace has two friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, one who lost her life to the disease. "With that in mind, I do everything I can to support," he said.
And thousands of miles away, shalabieh donned her stylish pink glasses and shared her thoughts on breast cancer awareness in Amman, Jordan.
"Women in the Middle East are not used to dealing with their breasts," she said. "Talking about breast cancer was not something that was done here." Fortunately, shalabieh said things are beginning to change and many women are getting their first breast exams this year.
If you're talking part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month or have your own story to share, please do! We’d love to see your photos and video.
Towering tsunami waves triggered by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake Tuesday left more than 100 dead and entire villages flattened or submerged in the Samoan Islands. iReporters in American Samoa and neighboring Samoa shared incredible images of the aftermath and compelling stories as rescue workers tried to reach outlying villages affected by the natural disaster.
iReporter genhall shared video of a survivor describing the horror as a "wall of water" crashed into Pago Pago. iReporter SueScanlan told us the island community is very close. "We all know people who have lost their lives."
It’s hard to image how difficult it must be to have your life affected by such a destructive force. Our deepest thanks to the many who shared their stories and our hearts go out to the entire Samoan Island community.
Please join us for our weekly roundtable discussion Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET. We'll look forward to talking to you.
Before we get started, I want to let everyone know that we have a scheduling conflict next week so we are canceling the October 8th roundtable meeting.
We'll open comments at 2:30 p.m. ET.