Blog : September 2010
Daily conversations: Thursday, September 30 »




The Rutgers suicide story has people talking. In addition to reacting to the specific facts of this case, we are hearing a lot about gay bullying. Unfortunately, a handful of posters feels it’s okay to post gay bashing comments on this story.


Also people are remembering actor Tony Curtis, who died at age 85.  iReporer Chris Morrow interviewed Curtis last year and was quoted in the article.  We loved this comments from concisekwell:  “I've always believed there is no such thing as old movies, just great films you haven't seen yet.”


And Tour de France champ, Alberto Contador, is getting a lot of attention. He’s rejecting the results of a drug test that says he tested positive for a banned substance during the latest Tour de France. Our commenters are having a hard time buying his explanation.


Thursday stats

Comments:             12,233

Commenters:             5,037

Likes:                        50,087


Stories you're talking about:

Some comments have been edited for length and clarity


Student's apparent suicide linked to webcast of sexual encounter

1,927 comments and 1,946 Facebook shares



I know that this is an ever increasingly interconnected world at your finger tips, but damn! The person's who taped him should have the book thrown at them. Even if you don't agree with someone's views, beliefs, etc., there are just some lines that you don't cross regardless. I truly feel for this kids parents. No pity for the ones who did it. Sorry all. Some things are just black and white.



The way he felt so despondent really bothers me. Those two grown students are responsible for his death!!!



It only shows that being "gay" has nothing to be proud about as some weirdoes pretend. By the way they should called themselves something else than "gay"; What about "pathetics"?



You have no idea how hard it is for a young gay person to accept who they are, especially when they have not had access to a strong support community and find adversity everywhere they turn. Put yourself in his shoes.



Have you ever walked into a high school? Were you home-schooled? The world is a tough, tough place. People are not always nice. You cannot kill yourself because someone violated your privacy. Did Erin Andrews throw herself off a bridge? No. His suicide was NOT the roommate's fault. His roommate is definitely wrong and should be punished for the crime he committed, but he did not cause this student to kill himself. You're wrong. If you can't imagine "the horror" of public humiliation... you're living in the clouds.



Even though I'm very unsupportive of the gay movement, videotaping someone to harass them is just wrong. Sounds like this wasn't the first time those 2 gave this kid a hard time. Its just messed up.



The Bible teaches us that being gay is immoral.



This should be prosecuted as a hate crime. In his online postings Dharun Ravi makes it clear that the reason he is filming Clementi is because Clementi is having a homosexual encounter and Ravi wants to publicly humiliate and embarrass him. This is a clear case of gay-bashing and should be deemed a hate crime and prosecuted as such.



Well being gay, you're already ostracized by society and generally considered less by your peers/others, and at his age, extremely sensitive about who he is and his private life.... He looks like a wonderful kid with a great future, and its all thrown away from somebody else's callousness. I'm sickened.


Movie star Tony Curtis dead at 85

130 comments and 1,959 Facebook shares



He was cool and had style.



He wasn't arrogant but to some he might have appeared to be. He was a very good actor who could be serious and funny. We really liked him in both "Operation Petticoat" with Cary Grant and "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe & Jack Lemmon. Our sympathies go out to his family.



I really enjoyed Tony's work in the "The Great Race." His teeth would sparkle everytime he smiled. Rest in Peace, Tony.



It's a pity there was no mention in the press release of the financial support he provided to restore the Dohany Temple in Budapest, Hungary, to honor the Hungarian Jews who died during the Holocaust of World War II.



Even though the roles he played in were far before my time, I've always believed there is no such thing as old movies, just great films you haven't seen yet. I've seen several movies he stared in and he was really a great actor. His skills displayed the fact that acting is truly an art when those doing it have real passion

Contador rejects positive dope test

213 comments and 1,060 Facebook shares



Daniel Frebe is a liar. Clenbuterol isn’t a steroid. It doesn’t boost muscle mass, it metabolizes fat and thereby reduces body weight. It acts like a more potent and longer lasting form of adrenaline by increasing oxygen transport and aerobic capacity. Except for it being banned (and dangerous), this would be exactly the type of drug a hill climbing specialist would take. And, it is also a drug that would dissipate in the body after a day or two making detection more difficult.



Bull meat... doesn't he mean bull sh!t. Another cyclist busted for cheating and all he can say is it was bad meat. Guess it's only cheating if you get caught.



Do they actually think anyone is buying their stories? Seriously -- the whole sport dopes and Astana has been riddled with doping problems for the last 3 or 4 years. If the UCI had told him Eddie Merckx was the only one who didn't test positive, then he would have said, "Of course he was the only one that didn't eat the meat."



This is news? Everybody knows cyclists dope as much as baseball players. Next.



Anyone else finding the excuses at least amusing? Landis claimed that it was a glass of scotch that elevated his testosterone (IF ONLY!!!) in 2006 and this goober is claiming it was, "bad meat." How ... is that supposed to work?? List of excuses to come:

  • I was out in the sun too long
  • I wasn't out in the sun enough
  • I was training in the pool and I swallowed chlorinated water
  • A pretty girl kissed me at the finish line
  • Mosquito who bit a cheating rider bit me
  • Cheating rider spit on me
  • Blowgun dart


Comment of the day


"Every life matters."

- Andrew Meacham, St. Petersburg Times


We were inspired by an article in today's St. Petersburg Times about a 48-year-old dishwasher who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Editors saw a nasty comment on the man's obituary and decided to do a profile on him.


They found a hard working, dependable man who kept to himself, but had a loyal circle of friends who miss him.


It's a good reminder that the stories we read here on involve real people with lives and people who care about them.

Be part of the story


We want to invite you to add your voice to the CNN community. You can participate by commenting on stories, sharing your photos and videos on CNN iReport and telling us what you think in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.


Compiled by the comment moderation staff.

Posted by:
// September 30, 2010
 6 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week four »

Video is an integral part of how CNN tells stories to the world, and we challenged you this past week to profile a person on video working with their hands.

Today in the roundtable we have two experts who will be taking your questions:

Chris Hrubesh has worked for CNN for 22 years as a video editor, field audio recordist, photographer and producer. He has been to several war zones and covered the last four elections as well as dozens of severe weather events. Check out these photos of his career.

Merv Teo has worked for CNN for eight years and is an accomplished producer; field producer, segment producer, video editor, photographer, lighting and field engineering assistant. In his current role, Merv produces breaking news and original content on a daily basis for

For those who may have missed it, check out this story and accompanying videos for their tips (including tips by CNN legend Mark “Mad Dog” Biello) on how to shoot and edit the CNN way.

Come armed with your questions and we’ll see you today at 3 p.m. ET.

Posted by:
// September 30, 2010
 123 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community, boot_camp
Meet the fall interns »


Hey iReportland,
You’ll notice a couple new faces on CNN iReport this fall. Meet Stephanie and Neil, our two new interns. We asked them to introduce themselves, so here goes:


Stephanie Junca


I’m currently a student at Georgia State University studying for a BFA in Photography hoping to graduate in May of 2011. In 2007, I graduated with a BA in Journalism with a minor in English.


I have interned with Atlanta weekly newspaper Creative Loafing twice, as an editorial intern in 2007 and a photo intern in 2010. For two years I worked for the Georgia State University student-run newspaper called The Signal; first as a photographer and then as a production assistant. I also did some contributing writing for a small magazine called the Fayette Woman.


In my free time I like to travel to various parts of the country, specifically Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Louis, Missouri, where some of my closest friends reside. Every Halloween I go to Salem, Massachusetts, with a group of friends where we dress up in group costume: first year was Wizard of Oz; this year we’re planning on doing Disney princesses (I’ll be Pocahontas).


I also enjoy working with animals either as a volunteer at the Atlanta Humane Society or with pets of my friends, my family, or my own. In the past, I’ve had turtles, fish, snakes, birds, cats, dogs and even a hedgehog. Right now I have a cat named Paprika and I had a hedgehog named Chippie but I had to give her away because of USDA rules in Georgia.


I’m somewhat of a book nerd and a computer geek. I tend to get absorbed into anything in book form, but I really don’t like the new “book” gadgets such as the iPad or the Kindle. I love Apple computers and really enjoy messing around on Adobe CS. My friends and family tend to come to me with computer trouble, and I have even taught one-on-one computer classes.


My background is somewhat interesting. My parents are both Colombian and have known each other since they were children. My dad moved to New York City when he was 19 and my mother moved there when she was 26. I was born in Flushing, Queens, but only lived there for about one year. We moved to Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, and lived there for 11 years until we moved to a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, called Peachtree City. I have now been living there for almost 13 years this December.


Neil Hieatt

My road to this internship position at CNN iReport is long and winding, but here I am!


I grew up in the Midwest – Nebraska to be precise. Some say I’m corn fed, but one look at my tall, lanky skeleton might make you think otherwise. I attribute my straight face and often unabashed use of sarcasm to be the result of growing up in the Midwest, a place where unpredictable weather and centuries of farming the land has forced its inhabitants to be honest and resilient. I found my sarcasm and stone face to be difficult to shed upon my move to Arizona.


I was about to begin my sophomore year in high school when we moved to the Southwest. It was hard to leave my childhood home at such a pivotal time in my adolescence, but I soon realized that the warm weather of the desert was just as welcoming as the people who populate its harshly beautiful terrain. My years in the desert were very influential in my life. There, I made some of my closest friends and found my interest in film and video, but the desire to further my college education and pursue a career working with media led me to leave the desert and find my first love: Austin, Texas.


You may have heard the phrase “Keep Austin Weird.” I guarantee, you don’t need to try to keep Austin weird, it just is. But from its weirdness came a huge sense of normalcy. It’s just like any other city in the U.S. Austin is professors and students, doctors and lawyers, politicians and musicians. It is urban renewal and subdivisions, ranches and high rises, apartments and mansions. In the places I’ve lived, I’ve learned that all cities are the same. What sets them apart from one another is soul, and Austin has plenty of soul. It’s a place where one, like me, can really explore and find themselves. You can be as driven or lethargic as you please, but no matter what you will be happy at the end of the day. But there comes a time where things need to change.


And for me, I was changing. I had begun working in different forms of media other than film and video. I had been out of school and working in the real world for several years. My interests and goals changed, and with that came a move to Atlanta, Georgia, where I have lived for the last year. The seal of the great city of Atlanta consists of a phoenix rising from its ashes.


Above the phoenix the word “resurgens” appears in bold—what better way to change directions and begin a new degree, a new career path and pursue new interests than in the city that is known for rising from its past and turning itself in a bold new direction. So here I am: Exploring my new city, meeting new people, learning new skills and telling new stories.

Posted by: tyson // September 30, 2010
 6 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: site
Andorra's stunning landscapes »


As you may have heard by now, we're aiming to approve an iReport from every country in the world. This week, we got a little closer to that goal thanks to iReporter Rebecca Florence, who lives in Andorra.


Florence moved to Arinsal, Andorra, just over a year ago, and has spent her time letting others know about the country ever since. Andorra, nestled between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, is Europe's sixth smallest nation with a population just under 84,000 in 2009.


Shortly after moving to Andorra, Florence created a travel website about the Pyrenees in hopes of making it easier for English-speaking travelers to visit there. "I now hold this country dear to my heart," she said. "There are so many things that make Andorra special."


Among Florence's favorite things about the tiny country are its stunning landscapes. Her photos show wild horses, stone huts, and picturesque churches among majestic mountains and sparkling lakes.



"I am almost certain that living amongst these amazing landscapes is most likely a contributor to the long life spans that Andorrans are said to have," Florence said. "Long life span or not, we are happy in Andorra, and are grateful, everyday, to have been given the chance to live in such a special place."


We're thrilled to welcome Florence to the iReport community and excited to learn more about Andorra. Be sure to check out her iReports, and if you live in or have visited one of the countries on our Global Challenge list, let us know.

Posted by: katie // September 29, 2010
 1 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: global_challenge
The stories you're talking about: Wednesday, September 29 »

Eddie Long, Farmville, Shirvell's commenters were up bright and early Wednesday morning, and two big stories are getting the most attention.  People are really interested in Anderson Cooper's interview with the Michigan Assistant Attorney General intent on trying to discredit the gay president of the University of Michigan student body. Many commenters say his obsession with this young man is bizarre, to say the least. Many believe it borders on stalking.


The sexual coercion allegations surrounding Georgia pastor Eddie Long also has gotten commenters attention and has generated a fascinating discussion.


Here's a sampling of what readers are saying on the day's top stories. Some comments have been edited for length or clarity.


Michigan official targets gay student

1,347 comments and 4,472 Facebook shares


homosapien1: Whether on his own time or not, it's frightening that a person with his judgment, priorities, and obsession, has a position in the justice system. He shouldn't be allowed to mop the halls of justice let alone be on his way to becoming attorney general.


steuben: As the first openly-gay class president and student council president at Columbia University, I'm both amazed and repulsed by the bizarre fascination Shirvell has against Armstrong, a student he's never met and otherwise has no relationship with other than, as he says, a 'concerned' alum. To the most casual observer, Shirvell is cyberstalking this guy and, perhaps, harassing and defaming him under the state and federal legal statutes.


SoulardGuys: The world will be a much better place without people like Andrew Shirvell, assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan. I suspect Andrew is a deeply closeted gay man who has been fighting his internal homosexual feelings for many years. It's too bad Andrew just can't accept who he is and live his life for himself.


sdurham11: After seeing the interview on "Anderson Cooper 360" last night, I'd say Mr. Shirvell is frighteningly obsessed with gay college student Chris Armstrong. I got the feeling that Mr. Shirvell has some mental issues. When I heard he was stalking Mr. Armstrong by sitting outside his home and secretly video taping him, it reminded me of the movie "Fatal Attraction". If I were Mr. Armstrong, I'd retain an attorney and file a restraining order against Mr. Shirvell. What's even more frightening is that he's the Assistant Attorney General of the State of Michigan! If I were a resident of that State, I'd demand that he be fired from his job. He is clearly prejudice and has demonstrated that he's incapable of impartially representing and protecting the rights of all Michigan's citizens.


zivo24: Ok … I'm gay and I'll say it - let's stop with everyone labeling Shirvell as a closet homosexual. I don't even got a blip on my gaydar when I watch his interview.  What I do see is a very insecure, pathetic man who is obviously incredibly jealous of the fact that a gay man was able to get elected to an office that he obviously coveted himself when he was at UM but either didn't have support from others to win or perhaps even the balls to run for.  He is absolutely entitled to his First Amendment rights but he is already crossing the line into slander, libel and defamation of character, harassment and perhaps even stalking.  I loved it when Anderson Cooper said, "You're a grown man … " My thoughts exactly!! But he isn't acting like one.


He's very obsessive in a very immature way about this gay guy and I believe it's entirely due to his ingrained hate of people based on stereotypes that he has accepted as gospel. He should be fired from his job as assistant D.A., not because of anything he has said, but because he is clearly not able to put his personal biases aside in order to fulfill his duties of upholding the law and serving the public.


Accuser's message for Bishop Eddie Long: 'You are a monster'

1,076 comments and 782 Facebook shares


PCIncorrect: I watched the video and felt compelled. I am not aware of any young man that would risk his reputation, his families name, or his own masculinity over simple greed. This young man is courageous and scared for the rest of his life. I am personally proud of his actions - and disgusted by the man of 'God' tap dancing around with his BS response. Jamal - looks like you're more of a man than Eddie Long will ever be!!!


herewego2010: I want to address each and every person who decided to leave a  comment on this subject. Let me begin by saying that I am not in favor of the Bishop nor am I against him. I do not know what happened, I was  not there. I do want to say that if is guilty then he needs to seek the  proper help and prayer. We need to have an attitude of reconciliation not  hate or disgust. If he did it then ok, it was wrong, pray for him and  move on. It's not right to continue to drag people through the mud as if  we are perfect. If he is innocent then the young men that accused him also need to seek the proper help and prayer so that they may be restored. In either case, if you are going to be bold and post a comment, don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution. Pray that both parties can be restored.


ethannc: Can you imagine a boy of 17 who has no father and this man that 25000 worship comes to you and pays you special attention, lavishing you with gifts and taking you on trips? These boys would do anything he requests and fully believe him but finally come to realize they were taken in by a master manipulator as they became 20 or 21. For Catholics, this would be like the pope himself. It takes a lot of courage for these guys to come forward and admit these abuses and to let everyone know they were in a gay relationship.


barnes: "I am not a perfect man" and yet you stand in your pulpit and rain down hell and damnation on people YOU decide are sinners. The picture of him with his wife standing behind him speaks volumes. Let's ask the preacher's wife.


buckycat: 25,000 fools allow this man to live like a king and do the things he has done to these young men. Shame on the preacher and shame on the 25,000 weak minded members of this church.


gobo: To clarify for folks not reading the article: this is a civil  suit. He didn't break any laws, and isn't being charged with any crime. Is Mr Long a disgusting, hypocritical creep? Absolutely. But the young men involved were of the age of consent and no laws were broken.


Froglily: Actually, in this case, the accuser is David and Long is Goliath. With his church behind him, he can't possibly appear as the more disadvantaged party. The accusers have no one (but their families) on their's brave that they're standing up and speaking out.


nuzejunkie: I feel the evidence surrounding this situation points right to this pastor obviously abusing his post. People don't find themselves making such accusations without merit very often. These KIDS trusted this man and he used their trust for his own benefit. What makes this situation even more pathetic is, if this is true and I feel that it is, he is hiding behind God and a pulpit and his trusted followers. In the year 2010, it is sad enough at the number of youth turning their backs on God and the Church, without the help of cowards like this Man giving them personal reasons not to trust in Churches.


I am a homosexual male who is sickened by Men who cross this boundary in the first place, but for them to cross it as a Man of God, it is repulsing. The fact that he is now calling them "liars" is even worse. In order to be forgiven for your sins, you must first admit them and ask for forgiveness. I hope for his sake, he does. As far as these young men are concerned, I hope you are awarded the proper ruling in your case. God is good, no matter what and this coward will pay for his sins.


Why the no-fun 'FarmVille' is so popular

86 Comments and 891 Facebook shares


mulldacity: Maybe these people should try running a farm in their community instead, so they can actually benefit humanity. But I guess that's just as easy as saying that I should go mine some iron instead of spending time playing Minecraft ... well, okay, farming is EASIER, alright!?


ENicolas: The social obligation is part of it. I was addicted to Farmville for about a year. The sense of progress and immediate gratification are what suck you in. Also the developers are constantly adding new features that tend to inter-relate, so the farm you've built up seems to take on a life of its own.... more The social obligation is part of it. I was addicted to Farmville for about a year. The sense of progress and immediate gratification are what suck you in. Also the developers are constantly adding new features that tend to inter-relate, so the farm you've built up seems to take on a life of its own. In the end, though, the excessive loading time, the amount of time you sit in the game paused as it does stuff, and the incessant push to spend real money on it get to be so annoying you give it up. What was surprising was how much of a decision giving it up was. I literally thought about it for a solid week before I quit.

Someone can make money selling "I Survived Farmville" t-shirts.


RoscoeC: My Facebook page was filled with comments about Farmville. I finally had to defriend 2 people so I could actually see real messages. I also did not want anybody to know I associated with people who had nothing better to do than play Farmville.


DeeinJersey: I don't agree with this article at all. I play FV, and I am not ashamed. I do not play because of heavy advertising, and I do not play because I feel guilty about other players' farms. I play because it is FUN. It is fun to decorate my farm and plan how I will plant my crops. It also can be competitive, which I like. Do these authors honestly believe that MILLIONS of people would play a game that they do not enjoy?! Give me a break.


Wednesday stats:

Comments:           14,096

Commenters:          5,524

Shares:                  59,551


Comment of the day


"Take your index finger and poke yourself in the eye, now count to three, and do it again. Repeat for a while...isn't this more exciting than Farmville? And no ads!"


BoyHowdie may not have the last word in the Farmville discussion, but his comment was one of the funniest.


Be part of the story


We want to invite you to add your voice to the CNN community. You can participate by commenting on stories, sharing your photos and videos on CNN iReport and telling us what you think in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.


Compiled by the comment moderation staff.

Posted by:
// September 29, 2010
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Stories you're talking about »

elmo and peanut butter

Elmo image from CNN affiliate WKMG

We comb through the thousands of comments we get on every day to see what stories are generating a buzz. Then we share the most interesting comments with CNN's producers and with you.

Tuesday's Stats:

Comments:           7,315

Commenters:        3,285

Likes:                    27,844


Most commented stories:

Some comments have been edited for length and clarity


Don't know much about religion? You're not alone, study finds

1,100 comments and 10,441 Facebook shares


Munch: The premise of this story seems confused. To have faith, to believe in God, to follow a particular religion does not require knowledge of what people on the far side of the globe or even what people down the block believe, does not require knowledge of other religions' tenets or history. The article confuses individual belief with Social Studies. I do not need to know what religion the Dalai Lama practices to be a devout Catholic.


Larry: I was force fed religion for my first 12 years of school. Learned a lot, but am now an agnostic. I think agnostics did well on the test because of early training. Too much to soon soured me on everything religious.


Kt: This was shown as Southern Bible Belt believers didn't know much about the religion. Which in fact it didn't hardly have anything to do with the Bible. Most Southern Bible believers study Christ not Luther and Mother Teresa.


Food allergies make kids a target of bullies

155 Comments and 432 Facebook shares


FLCan2531: If the same kid waved a knife at this child, or even threatened to bring one to school, he would have been dealt with severely. For some children, peanut allergies TRULY are matters of life and death. If you have never lived with this or known someone who has, it is difficult to understand. And to those who are saying this child should stand up or get into an altercation with the kid (punch him in the face, etc.) need to remember this child had an allergic reaction to just touching peanuts and breathing in peanut particles. Smacking the granola bar out of his hand would be like getting in a fight with someone with a loaded gun. This stuff is not a joke, people. Kids DIE from this crazy allergy. My kids don't suffer with this, but I certainly feel for those who do.


autumnwind3: Believe it or not, my niece has attended school for 17 years with a young man so allergic to peanuts that if you eat a peanut butter sandwich and then breathe in his face, he will end up in the ER. She has seen it happen to him twice. Mostly because he doesn't make a big deal of his allergy, so sometimes new acquaintances aren't aware. His parents understand that he can't live in a bubble his whole life, so he must learn to cope with the real world, trips to the ER and all. He's never been bullied about it, to my knowledge.


1amwendy: I don't want to come across as politically incorrect, but I fear that we are potentially breeding an entire generation of children that will not have developed inner strength to deal with difficulty. IMHO, there is no human system - physical, emotional or intellectual - that does not weaken without appropriate challenge. I am not condoning bullying, but guys, kids need to become strong and resilient. They need to challenge and exercise their emotional resilience as well as their minds and bodies. By providing an emotional cocoon we are doing them no favors.


missadr: This ridiculous. A food allergy is a weakness. Kids pick on any weakness. If you don't want to be picked on, don't show a weakness. really, a peanut-free-table?! That's insane. That's like saying "oh here I'm a wimpy boy with a weakness. Please highlight how weak I am." I seriously doubt that breathing near a peanut is going to make him dangerously sick. If it does, he shouldn't be in school at all. His mother should quit drawing attention to it because she's just making it worse. And I think the "breathing near a peanut" is something she made up because she's over-protective.


UFOs eyed nukes, ex-Air Force personnel say

457 Comments and 2,868 Facebook shares


jryan: The truth will eventually be out there to all people. There are 100's of military and ex CIA and others who affirm the existence of ET's. These are just a few who had the bravery of setting aside ridicule and the name calling they will endure to tell the public the truth.


M_Edwards: At the end of the video when Robert Hastings makes a political statement about nuclear weapons as a supposed "message" by the supposed UFOs makes me doubt the validity of his claims. If these events did happen, how could Hastings possibly understand what the visits mean? It may range from a measurement of how well we could counter an invasion to simply being a measurement of our evolution as a society.


bob: While I don't disbeleive other life is out in space, it a big place and to assume we're alone is dumb. I do believe that if another life is out there and can travel in space, they are way far more advance than the human race. We're still fighting war among ourselves and don't try to take care of each other. I would take one look and go away too.


douglas: My question: Why does it matter? If these ET's are so advanced we cannot even track them, then they can just come and take our lunch whenever they want to right? So why do we worry about them. I mean, our most sophisticated weapons can be shut down by a floating disk? We might as well keep fighting ourselves, because we stand no chance against ET's. Time to stop worrying about aliens and worry about Earth.


Reality: People want to believe in UFO's. What is more terrifying, the thought that we are not alone...or the thought that we are?


Comment of the day (Times 3)


froogle100:  Nightmare on Sesame Street eh!


Chillaxophon: I want to sign up for some Elmo Self Defense classes


kommoncentz1: Other prisoners.."What are you in for.?"...I got beat up by Elmo....And then things go down hill. readers' reactions to the report that a man attacked a performer in an Elmo costume and ended up losing a fight to the "Sesame Street" star.

Posted by:
// September 28, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Conversations on » readers post thousands of comments on our site every day adding their unique insights and perspectives to our coverage of the news. We search through these comments to find trends and interesting conversations so our producers and writers will know which stories are creating a buzz. Now we're sharing the best stuff with you.


Monday's stats:

Comments:        10,192

Commenters:       4,298

Likes:                   38,129


Most commented stories:

Televangelist Eddie Long: 'I'm going to fight' sex allegations

The controversy surrounding Atlanta minister Eddie Long has generated quite a discussion with more than 2,350 comments on and 1,969 shares on Facebook. Long is accused of coercing young men into having sex, but vowed on Sunday to fight the allegations. Here's a sampling of the discussion:

nicki1980: We must take care to remember that this pastor is only accused of these crimes and claims he is innocent. I would like to see what proof of his innocence he has before I judge his character. Others have been falsely accused of crimes such as this, perhaps he has been too, we don't know until he has his chance to defend himself.
ken0068: It's Jim Bakker all over again.
livelikehim: Well said Nicki. Innocent until proven guilty. But the court of public opinion has said otherwise. The truth will forward soon. And the true liars will be exposed.

Tapes describe U.S. servicemen killing for sport in Afghanistan

693 comments and 166,493 recommends on Facebook


Navy Mom: Hello I can not even believe CNN ran this story. Don't they realize what our SOLDIERS are going thru over there. After being there for so long and seeing what they have to see happen to there brothers and sisters in combat this stuff is bound to happen. How can we punish our own especially when we are not over there to view what they view. Nor fighting for our freedom as they are. Who are we to judge exactly what happened. I highly doubt our soldiers who have seen their mates killed are thinking lets make sure we are courteous to them just incase this gets back to the US. OH YEAH THE COUNTRY WE ARE FIGHTING FOR. I bet the news reporter who got to read this story doesn't have any children over there fighting for us. Think before you sell out your own kind.


AF Guy: Well navy Mom I am currently serving and I have been deployed to Afghanistan twice..and find this deeply disturbing. How would you like it if an American murdered your someone in your family. Would be ok??? I highly doubt it. Murder is Murder.


Marty W.: Bad things happen in every war. Given the fact that this war is right in the middle of the opium mother lode for the whole planet, stories like these should shock no one. War is Hell. Even good people do bad things during wartime. Should we condone this type of action? Absolutely not. But do not be shocked with stories like this about war. They will never change. Again, War is Hell.



Recession's not over, public says

2,035 comments and 588 shares on Facebook


mrbratt: Funny they (those who think all is rosy) seem to miss the point is that we traded 10 plus million jobs away and it is the lack of that revenue that is causing most of the pain. These jobs where traded in those so called free trade agreements. The only way we are going to get past these hard times is to get away from mega-producers and markets and buy local and get your work done by local folks. Folks want to work but there is no way to compete against the the big box stores and they don't want local made goods they only care about one thing and one thing only and that is its bottom line. Just my two cents worth.


PeterMo2010: This is the change we can believe it. Yeah, right. What a disaster this administration has created. November can't come soon enough..
kat40915: Obama didn't create all the problems that exist. Its been said for MANY presidential terms that the government is spending too much, we need other fuel sources, etc etc. Obama is not the root of all evil and he did not bring about these problems himself. Bush and his administration are part to blame. Clinton and his administration are part to blame, and so it goes on. And, the American people are partly to blame for the huge spending- part of our financial woes now came from living off of credit and not being personal and fiscally responsible for ourselves.  That said, I do believe Obama is steering our country on the fast track toward socialism. Its undeniable that he is. Socialism means more control for the government and less control for the people, and I can never support that.
johnny3jobs: You're right... the economic policies of the previous 8 years had nothing to do with the current situation "rolls eyes."

Patty2012: My husband lost his job of 18 years when his employer went out of business last year! Rather than go on unemployment...he took a job paying less that 1/2 what he was making...Our house and both cars are paid for.....yet, we are struggling to pay everyday bills! The stimulus bill was the FIRST major mistake.....and they're still asking for more!  Sorry, but yes, I resent the nightmare spending!



Katy Perry pokes fun at 'Sesame Street' controversy

Taylynn: C'mon people! Sesame Street is for educating the little children. I do not think they meant any harm towards Ms.Perry. I do believe that they should have told Katy they were not happy with the dress before she performed. Communication folks! Communication. Truth be told our children are being exposed to a lot of things we were not.
KellyB: Absolutely agree! Katy Perry would have been great on Sesame Street because she's so animated and the song is perfect. Why didn't they (the S.S. people) notice her outfit a little sooner???
J: I don't get it...don't they have a wardrobe department on set?

Comment of the day


"I hope if I was ever in that situation, my story would be as uncool as possible."


jth543210's reaction to passenger Alessandro Albero's statement that he almost wished that Saturday's emergency landing at JFK airport was "a little bit more bumpier or something just so we had a cooler story."

Posted by:
// September 27, 2010
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Posted in: community
Ultra-fast Rubik's Cube solves »


People love the Rubik's Cube so much that it turns out that one blog post isn't enough. The response to our last entry, featuring justinashar's stop-motion video and gregreesehd's footage of a cube being solved in about two minutes, drew numerous comments from people who said they knew of people who had solved the puzzle at much more lightning-ish speeds.


We also received three video demonstrations of the unscrambling process, with pwnage51 clocking in at 15.76 seconds for his filmed solve and cpelley at less than 23 seconds. iReporter numerguy came in at about 1 minute and 23 seconds, which is still a lot faster than I can do it.


Although the videos appear to be sped up, they are in real time. iReporters cpelley, numerguy  and pwnage51 shared some insight into why it looks that way. These speed cubers say they lubricate their cubes with WD-40 or silicon oil and tweak the inner workings to allow the mechanisms to work faster.


One commenter on the blog post, iRichard, brought up the question of whether the cubes were mixed up strategically to make solving easier. It was an interesting thought, so we posed it to our iReporting cubers. They said that in competition, computer algorithms determine the scrambling sequence for the cubes so everyone is on a level playing field.


Additional uploads shed light on how addicting the cubing hobby can be. cpelley shared photos of his intriguing Rubik's Cube-esque puzzle collection, which he said includes a total of more than 100 cubes and cube-like things. He has configurations of up to seven squares on each edge (a standard cube uses a 3x3 configuration on each face) and several related sorts of puzzles made from different polygon shapes. And numerguy posted a video of himself making his Rubik's Cube into patterned designs.


Thanks for the Rubik's Cube love, everybody. This is a shout-out to you. Be sure to post any further thoughts you have in the comments area below.

Posted by:
// September 24, 2010
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Posted in: stories, community
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week three »


Cars whooshing. Sirens blaring. Frogs croaking. Sounds instantly conjure up mental images and help set the scene of any scenario. They also help establish the pace for a production and fill in the ambiance. That's why good audio is so crucial to storytelling projects.


Welcome to the latest installment of the CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions, which will focus on collecting great audio in the field and the best ways to use it in your work.


We've already tackled photography and search engine optimization in our six-part series, and this week we'll continue our journey with CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum as a special guest.


Kastenbaum will join the roundtable chat to share his audio know-how and talk about some of the audio-only submissions we received as part of our audio guessing game, which was a challenge to use only sound to tell where you are. Take a listen and see if you can identify the sounds.


If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments at the bottom of this post.


You can participate in this discussion even if you didn't submit an audio clip. Take a look at this story and slideshow, which conveniently package tips that Steve gave us. And, share your expertise and any great stories you've got from getting audio in the field. (Bonus points: Come prepared with great audio examples you've found.)


This session will be focused on the questions for Steve, so if you have any comments about CNN iReport, you can email them to me at


Can't wait to get started with the roundtable!

Posted by:
// September 23, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
Different places, same sky »


During his nightly beach walk on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Ken Bodnar snapped a photo last night of a full moon illuminating a palm tree. If you look closely, you can see Jupiter peeking through the palm fronds.


Some 700 miles away, James Amerson was also photographing the sky. He captured tight shots of the moon and Jupiter high above Pensacola, Florida.


"I love stargazing, because I am interested in cosmology," said Bodnar. "I like to ponder and speculate on the origins of the universe and celestial bodies."


Amerson is also an avid sky watcher, and said he's been working a few nights to get the settings on his camera just right to capture the celestial sight.


It's always magical when iReporters in different places report on similar events. The best part about these photos, though? Neither Bodnar nor Amerson used special equipment to capture these shots (in fact, Bodnar took his photo with a Kodak EasyShare camera), proving that anyone can capture photos of the night sky.


If you're into stargazing, be sure to check out our space assignment here. We'd love to see your view of the cosmos!

Posted by: katie // September 22, 2010
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Posted in: stories
iReporters throw down Rubik's Cube gauntlet »


The Rubik's Cube is a baffling instrument of cerebral torture for many, but a piece of cake for others. Once you've figured out the strategy, we're told, it's no sweat. So it's fun to see iReporters from all kinds of places showing how handily you can put solid colors on all those cube faces.


Repeat time-lapse rock star justinashar recently showed us an outstanding stop-motion video about the cube that he made by shooting 788 photos of the cube being solved. We thought it was awesome and we hope you'll check it out and find it as inspiring as we did. That really got our attention because we knew the 30th anniversary of the Rubik's Cube was this year.


Some people have made a game out of seeing how fast they can solve the cube. gregreesehd captured video of a 12-year-old who had beaten the Rubik's Cube in two minutes. We saw tons of comments from people saying they'd seen someone else do it, or they knew of ways to do it faster.


While most of us at Team iReport can’t really profess to have this knowledge, we're eager to hear what you have to say and, more importantly, see how you can or can't unscramble the Rubik's Cube. Let us know what you think in the comments area. Share a video of how you solve the Rubik's cube at CNN iReport, and if you feel up to the task, make a time-lapse or stop-motion video and send it here.

Posted by:
// September 21, 2010
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Posted in: stories
30 years, 30 events, countless memories »


Where were you when the Challenger exploded? When Dolly the Sheep was cloned? When the Berlin Wall came crashing down?


Over the last 30 years, news events like the ones above and many others have shaped the world and had a lasting impact on our lives. CNN was there to cover them all. And even though you may not have been there, I bet you remember vividly what you were doing when the World Trade Center was attacked, or when you first learned that Michael Jackson had died. We all do.


Those shared memories are at the heart of the latest CNN iReport project called CNN30: Were you there?


We’re inviting you to open your shoeboxes and photo albums to help CNN build a timeline of significant news events from the past 30 years by sharing images and memories. We hope that combining personal snapshots with original news footage will shine a new light on the moments that changed our lives as well as our world.


To get started, go to

Posted by: tyson // September 20, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Welcome, Azerbaijan! »


We approved our first iReport from Azerbaijan -- one of the countries on our iReport Global Challenge list -- today.


Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, the Imam of the Juma mosque in Baku, shared video of a peaceful protest he organized Monday outside the city’s central church to condemn the burning of qu’rans.


Ibrahimoglu, who is also chair of a human rights organization, said he and others went to the church with flowers and qu’rans in their hands to express their respect toward Christians and send a message of peace.


We're excited to invite Ibrahimoglu to the iReport community and uncover more stories from Azerbaijan. Have we heard from your country? Take a look at the list.

Posted by: dsashin // September 17, 2010
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Posted in: global_challenge
iReport for CNN airs this weekend »

The folks at CNN International sent us the lineup for this month's "iReport for CNN" TV show airing this weekend.


It features loads of your iReports, including DigibuzzMM's harrowing bus ride across a swollen river in Nicaragua, NidaKhan's pro and anti-mosque rallies in New York; goodnewsfm1's mystery Ghana fish; plus tons of severe weather footage from around the world. There's also an interview with iReport's Tyson Wheatley about iReport boot camp.


Upcoming air times for the show on CNN International TV:


Saturday: 12:30 p.m. ET (18:30 CET, 10:30 Abu Dhabi)and 7:30 p.m. ET (7:30 Hong Kong)


Sunday: 2:30 a.m. ET (14:30 Hong Kong, 10:30 Abu Dhabi), 10:30 a.m. ET (22:30 Hong Kong, 18:30 Abu Dhabi) and 10:30 p.m. ET (10:30 Hong Kong/Monday)


Here are links to all the iReports and videos featured in this month’s show:


Who I Am by Shabnam Amini
The Big One....or, just a Party?
Firemen Save the Strike in Paris
Mozambique Riots
Typhoon in South Korea
New Zealand earthquake
Ghana Mystery Fish


Nicaragua Floods
Mexico Floods
Hurricane Earl pushes boat towards rocks
Earl takes his toll on the USVI reefs
Hurricane Earl - Hampton Roads
Amazing photos of the 4 Mile Fire, Boulder, Co right after it started
Fourmile Canyon Fire
Boulder Colorado fire from airplane
The Four Mile Wildfire - TIME LAPSE - Front Range, CO
Hurricane Katrina: Then and Now

Posted by: dsashin // September 17, 2010
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Posted in: community
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week two »

SEO Word cloud

(Word cloud created with Wordle)


Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for part two our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions. We'll be talking about search engine optimization (SEO), which is a way of using keywords and other techniques to make your iReports more visible to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO Coordinator Topher Kohan will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on your submissions to our SEO refrigerator challenge. In case you're wondering "why refrigerators," we wanted to focus on something that was easy to find so you could focus on the SEO tips instead of on finding something to photograph.


You can be a part of the discussion, even if you didn't participate in the SEO challenge. Just check out Topher's tips and have your questions ready.


We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Topher so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at


If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments below.


We'll talk with you then.

Posted by:
// September 16, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
Remembering a marine he never met »

Editor’s Note: Home and Away is an ongoing initiative to honor the men and women worldwide who died while serving in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can learn more about the project here.


Although Jeffrey Cook, Sr. has never met Staff Sgt. John Fry, he feels a close connection to him. Fry was killed by a roadside bomb near Habbaniya, Iraq, on March 8, 2006. A few months later -- thanks to one special bracelet -- Cook learned about Fry and his life.


"I did not know you, we never met," Cook wrote in his Home and Away tribute to Fry. "I do not know anyone in your family, nor have I met your wife, nor anyone in her family, nor your children. And yet I've thought about you each and every day since sometime in June 2006."


Earlier that year, Cook learned about an organization that creates bracelets in honor of fallen soldiers. He made a donation and received a black bracelet with Fry's picture and name on it. He says he wears it every day.


Cook says he has since learned more about Fry through the internet. He's proud to honor someone so selfless.


"When others ask about my bracelet, I tell them very briefly where I got it, but then I go on to tell them as much as I can about a young Marine named John D. Fry and his sacrifice and those that he left behind," Cook said. "I tell them that I wear this bracelet to remind me of what young men and women just like [Fry has] done and are continuing to do, so that I can live in this country without fear."


If you lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or know someone who has, please submit your tributes through the Home and Away page. Click on the Afghanistan or Iraq tabs and search for his or her name. From there, you can submit your photos, videos and memories. We look forward to adding your tribute to this very special project.

Posted by: katie // September 15, 2010
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Posted in: stories
iReport Global Challenge »

iReports map


This year in iReport, we've received submissions from every continent. The new CNN app for the iPhone has encouraged even more international submissions, making it easier than ever for iReporters around the world to upload on the go.


It got us to wondering: Could we get an iReport from every single country? We looked at the countries we had so far (plotted in red on the above map), and discovered we were missing fewer than 50.

So here's the challenge: We want to approve an iReport from all of them.

We're calling it the iReport Global Challenge. For the purposes of the challenge, we're using the 194 independent states recognized by the U.S. State Department as our guide. Will you help spread the word? If you know anyone from any of these places, send them to the Global Challenge assignment and encourage your friends to upload an iReport.


Let's get started!

Posted by: dsashin // September 14, 2010
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Posted in: global_challenge
iReport mystery solved »

Ghana sunfish

It's not every day that we get a mystery submission here at CNN iReport, especially one from an African beach.


So when iReporter goodnewsfm1  shared photos of a strange-looking creature that fisherman had dragged to shore in Abuesi, Ghana, we were curious. The fish was football-shaped, with long fins and almost no tail. It was also HUGE -- goodnewsfm1 said it was the size of four people and that 20 strong men couldn't carry it.


When the fishermen got the fish to shore, no one would eat it because they didn't know what it was.


We didn't know what it was either, so we asked around. Tim Mullican, the vice president of Zoological Operations at the Georgia Aquarium, identified the fish as an ocean sunfish, also known as a Mola mola. The average ocean sunfish grows to about 6 feet long and weighs more than a ton, but they can get much bigger. You can find out all about them at


goodnewsfm1 says some fishermen tied the fish to their boat and dragged it back out to sea, but it washed back on the beach in the same spot.


"The community was convinced that it was a sea god, so now some are scared to even get closer to where the fish is," he told CNN. They ended up leaving the fish on the beach.


We love getting interesting stories like this and want to thank goodnewsfm1 for sharing his photos. If you see something unusual in your part of the world, we hope you'll share it with us too.

Posted by:
// September 13, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
San Bruno fire rattles neighborhood »

A deadly gas-fueled blaze rocked a neighborhood near the San Francisco airport yesterday evening, razing dozens of homes and shooting orange flames up into the sky. At least four people are dead and dozens are injured, emergency management officials said.


Several iReporters were on the scene minutes after the explosion and helped CNN tell this story through powerful, up-close footage and images of the burgeoning fire. Their personal accounts of the scene painted an intimate picture - it's news coming straight from those who have been affected.


Sergio Campos was driving to class last night when he felt the ground shake and heard a loud roar.


“It sounded like a big ongoing roar,” he said. “A lot of us were confused because we didn’t know if it was a natural explosion or an airplane crash."


Within 30 minutes of the explosion, he says he drove within a couple blocks of scene of to see if he could help people running through the streets.


“There was so much confusion,” he told CNN’s John Roberts and Kiran Chetry this morning. “Many of us didn’t know whether to run toward the fire and help people or run away from it and take cover from any more explosions.”


Professional photographer Chris Honeysett captured the harrowing sight through heart-stopping black-and-white images of firefighters battling the blaze. He said the area was “shrouded in smoke.”


Dina Boyer was out covering a protest in San Francisco when she noticed smoke in the sky. She captured powerful footage and photos of the raging fire.


“When I arrived on the scene somewhere around Bay Hill Road, people in neighborhood were in a state of panic,” she said. “I was literally right on top of the inferno.”


Our hearts go out to those affected by the fire. If you're there and see the fire or are affected in some way, we would like to hear from you. Share photos and videos of your experience, but please stay out of harm’s way.

Posted by:
// September 10, 2010
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Posted in: stories
CNN iReport roundtable: Special time and special guests »


Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for the first of our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions.


CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill and photographer Matthew Rond will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on the submissions to our photography challenge. You can be a part of the discussion even if you didn't get to participate in the photography assignment. Just check out Mark's tips and have your questions ready.


We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Mark and Matthew so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at






We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and look forward to talking to you then.

Posted by:
// September 9, 2010
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Posted in: community, boot_camp
iReporter’s view unchanged on Islamic center »

CNN sat down with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the contentious Islamic center that’s to be built near Ground Zero, last night on Larry King Live with special host Soledad O’Brien.


Our community has buzzing about the controversy for months and when the opportunity came to ask the imam a question, 35 iReporters submitted poignant video questions. The questions came from people both for and against the building of the Islamic center. Ultimately, iReporter Kathi Cordsen’s heartfelt question was asked during the live interview.


Cordsen had the guts to ask what a lot of Americans were wondering: “Why couldn’t you find another place? I just feel there’s an ulterior motive. …That you want to upset us for some reason. Is that true?”


The imam responded that was not his intention. He hopes to enhance relationships with American non-Muslims and wants to “contribute to the rebuilding of lower Manhattan,” he said in the interview.


When we followed up with KCRep after the interview, she said she didn’t think that Rauf really answered her question. His response didn’t change her mind: The Islamic center should still be built in another location.


We would like to know what you thought of the interview with the imam. What did you think of his responses? Share your thoughts in the comments below or send us your concise view on video.

Posted by:
// September 9, 2010
 129 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
It's Oscars time -- sort of »

The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony isn't until February, but if you want a spot on the red carpet, it’s time to start planning. Registration for a chance to sit in the fan bleachers outside the Kodak Theatre opens on Monday, September 13. There are only 700 seats available, so the Academy will hold a random online drawing.


You can enter the drawing by going to Registration ends on Sunday, September 19. This is a great opportunity for iReporters to get a close-up look at the glitz and glamour of one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.


Good luck! We hope to see some of you in the crowd and your awesome photos and videos on CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// September 9, 2010
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Feeding the penguins that chased the butterfly »

On a father-daughter outing in August, Marty McGuire knew he was watching a extraordinary moment inside the penguin exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo.


"My daughter Hanna said, 'Daddy, they're chasing a butterfly.' I was scrambling to get the camera out and turn it onto video mode," McGuire told iReport Wednesday. "Instantly I knew it was going to make at least a couple of people smile, even if I just put it on Facebook for my family."


Within days, McGuire's "Humboldt penguins chasing a butterfly" video went viral, appearing first on his YouTube channel and favorite blog,, then Yahoo, CNN and other sites. The zoo also put it on its Facebook page. From all the sites that hosted the video, McGuire counted more than 1.6 million views.


"We had a lot of people sending us emails just saying how cool it was," Jeff Paolini, the zoo's online marketing and communications manager, told iReport. "Penguins are probably one of our most popular animals, and for people to see that, they really enjoyed it."


The zoo was so grateful for the publicity that it had the McGuire family back on Labor Day to meet and feed the stars of the video.


Which, of course, McGuire documented.


"It's not a great video, but it's fun nonetheless," McGuire said.


McGuire's video has gotten has inspired the zoo to hold a video contest in search of more like it. The top prize will be a behind-the-scenes tour like the one the McGuire family received.

Posted by: dsashin // September 8, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories, stories
The world gets festive on Labor Day weekend »

We got lots of colorful iReports from festivals all over the country (and one from Scotland) this weekend, two from first-time submitters. Besides Dragon*Con here in Atlanta, iReporters sent in dispatches from the annual Colorado Balloon Classic, Southern Decadence in New Orleans, a unicycle festival in New York City and the three-week Edinburgh International Festival.


Unibasket, Unihockey, Unicanman: the balance and coordination required is mind-boggling. iReporter sjunat55 attended New York City's first unicycle festival, featuring basketball, hockey, juggling, jump-roping, and more...all on unicycles. The festival was held this past weekend on Governor's Island.


First-time iReporter nikongirl89 of Colorado Springs shot this photo at the Colorado Balloon Classic Saturday. At nightfall, pilots light the balloons to create the "GLO" effect. The balloons are filled with air but do not launch.


ParkerW is a professional photographer in New Orleans, but this was his first time attending Southern Decadence, an annual celebration of gay life, music and culture in the French Quarter. Men in costume as well as protesters participated in Sunday's parade.


First-time contributor moonbucket of East Lothian, Scotland, goes most years to the Edinburgh International Festival, which he said draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from the U.S., Europe, Japan and other countries and thousands of performers also from all over the globe. This was the first time he photographed the fireworks display marking the end of the festival Sunday.

Posted by: dsashin // September 7, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Top 10 reasons why we heart Dragon*Con »

PHOTO: Courtesy iReporter ZombieJP


When Labor Day rolls around each year, our home base of Atlanta, Georgia, turns into a veritable Paradise for geekery during Dragon*Con. Fantasy enters the realm of reality, putting costumes on fans and smiles on so many faces (including in our newsroom). And we love getting iReports about the sci-fi shindig, too, like the bunches and bunches we got from vladeb and GStern, and the video from iRbarnes. Here's the top 10 reasons why CNN iReport loves Dragon*Con sooooo much:


10. Storm troopers eat burgers like the rest of us. See photo 10 from ZombieJP as proof.
9. Comic-book characters drawn on boxes!
8. Superheroes and supervillains put aside their differences
7. Taking pictures at the con is like working for the Daily Planet.
6. Those costumes are surely an endurance challenge.
5. Whatever goes wrong, you're pretty much covered, superhero-wise.
4. Did we mention that there's a PARADE?
3. Whoa, hippie Darth Vader on frame 3.
2. Marvel master Stan Lee comes to town and answers your questions.
1. Face it, Spandex is awesome. And so are you.


We got such a geeky rush over your response that we made a photo gallery. Check it out, and be sure to comment below to let us know about your experiences as well.

Posted by:
// September 6, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Tune in to Your Bottom Line »

Guy Daniels, whom iReporter WausauFamily is profiling throughout 2010, talks to a panel of experts via Skype.


We've got some exciting news to share! This weekend, CNN's Your Bottom Line is teaming up with iReport to bring our Economy Tracker assignment to TV.


For the past eight months, six iReporters – EWillies1961, ChrisMorrow, omekongo, mcintron, WausauFamily, and BarbRad – have been following people in their communities to get a measure of how things are going in the economy. Their thoughtful digging turned up surprising new angles, and now the people they profiled will appear with a panel of experts on the show to discuss a variety of economic topics – from housing to heath care and family budgets to jobs.


The special will air 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday on CNN. It's a testament to the hard work and fascinating stories our team of iReporters has uncovered throughout the year. We hope you'll tune in!

Posted by: katie // September 3, 2010
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
CNN iReport roundtable: Thursday at 3 p.m. ET »

Please join us here in the blog at 3 p.m. ET for our weekly roundtable discussion. We're excited that the long-awaited CNN iReport bootcamp is launching tomorrow.

We'll be happy to answer any questions you have about the project or anything else that is going on in the community.

Comments will open at 3 p.m. ET and we'll talk with you then.

Posted by:
// September 2, 2010
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Posted in: community
CNN iReport Boot Camp »

Calling all iReporters! Want to improve your journalistic and technical skills? You've come to the right place. You've been asking for it, and now it's here: iReport boot camp!


We're cramming a j-school overview into eight short weeks. Each week we'll cover a different topic, from photography to interviewing to editing. And the coolest part? You'll get tips and live, one-on-one feedback from specially selected CNN experts in each area.


How does it work?

Here's the plan: Starting September 3, we'll launch a new topic every Friday. We'll publish tips from CNN experts on the topic and open up that week's iReport assignment, which is designed to help you stretch your skills in that particular area. You'll have several days to complete the assignment, and your submissions will then be evaluated by our CNN experts. The following Thursday, our experts will participate in a live roundtable discussion with you right here on our blog. They'll offer feedback on your work, answer questions, and share additional thoughts and suggestions. Finally, at the end of it all, we'll bake all your work and the experts' feedback into a series of fun and informational videos that you'll have as a resource for the future.


How can I participate?

There's no need to sign up -- just take note of when the topics you're interested in will be taking place and be sure to submit to those assignments and then come to the roundtable for feedback. You'll get the most out of boot camp if you participate every week because you'll be able to build on your skills, but if you're only interested in one or two topics, that's totally fine too!


What are the topics? And what's the schedule?

Glad you asked! You can always check the boot camp launch page to find out the week's topic and assignment, but for those of you who like to plan ahead, here's how it's going to go:


Week 1 - Photography: Launches Sept. 3, roundtable Sept. 9 at 3:30 pm E.T.

Week 2 - Getting it seen: Launches Sept. 10, roundtable Sept. 16 at 3:00 pm E.T.

Week 3 - Sound: Launches Sept. 17, roundtable Sept. 23

Week 4 - Video: Launches Sept. 24, roundtable Sept. 30

Week 5 - Interviewing: Launches Oct. 1, rountable Oct. 7

Week 6 - Editing: Launches Oct. 8, roundtable Oct. 14

Week 7 - Storytelling: Launches Oct. 15, roundtable Oct. 21


We'll announce specific times for the roundtable discussions as we get closer to the actual dates.

Who are the experts?

CNN's best and brightest. From's Jan Winburn, who has a Pulitzer Prize in editing, to CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill, we've recruited the best in the business to help you sharpen your skills. We can't tell you all the names right now (you know how unpredictable journalists' schedules are, and there may be some surprises), but rest assured: These guys are good.


Well? What are you waiting for? On September 3, get started with our first challenge: Photography. You can find tips and tricks from CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill here, and try your hand at our "wide, medium, tight" photography assignment here. Don't forget to come back to the iReport blog (yep, right here) on September 9 at 3:30 pm E.T. to get live feedback on your work from Mark and his staff. Good luck!

Posted by:
// September 2, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp, stories, community
Home and Away: Remembering the fallen in Iraq »


As the U.S. combat mission in Iraq has come to an end, friends and family members are faced with the memories of thousands of troops who have died in the war. We've received dozens of tributes from iReporters who are keeping their loved ones' memories alive through CNN's Home and Away project. Parents, siblings, friends and neighbors have all submitted memories of the fallen. And although they're all different, each and every tribute is extremely personal and touching.


Stacy Martinez shared a tribute to her fallen fiancé, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Carl Graham, who died in Iraq on February 19, 2004. "Jeffrey had the most infectious smile and most positive attitude about everything," she said. "His personality was so addicting and everyone always wanted to follow everything that he did."


When remembering his fallen comrade, Spc. Chad Hayden Drake, Michael Grady maintained a sense of humor. He remembers the time that Chad got pelted in the mouth by a paintball during a training exercise. "I'm laughing about it right now, because Chad's lips looked like a platypus," he wrote in an email to CNN.


And Francis Marshall honored her son, Sgt. Bradley Wayne Marshall, who left behind two sons and a wife. "I want Brad to be remembered for his generosity with his time in helping others and being a good friend to many," she said.


We also heard from iReporters who didn't personally know the fallen troops, but felt compelled nonetheless to share their condolences. One such tribute from aaronwedel was short, yet powerful:


"I didn't know you personally but you are from my hometown and you made the ultimate sacrifice. I am proud of you and God bless you and your family."


Being part of the Home and Away initiative has been a humbling and poignant experience. It's our dream that, someday, we'll receive tributes for all of the troops across the world who have died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every one of these brave men and women deserve to be remembered.


If you lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or know someone who has, please submit your tributes through the Home and Away page. Click on the Afghanistan or Iraq tabs and search for your loved one's name. From there, you can submit your photos, videos and memories. We look forward to adding your tribute to this very special project.

Posted by: katie // September 1, 2010
 26 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
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