Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Most memorable iReport moments of 2010

2010 has come and gone, and it's been another banner year for CNN iReport. As is our tradition, here's a look back at some of our favorite moments from the year gone by.

lila: Hands down, my favorite iReport moment on 2010 came early. It was January 15. Three days earlier, a massive earthquake had struck Haiti, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands more in desperate circumstances. On iReport, worried family and friends of people in Haiti started posting pleas for help: My mother is missing. Last seen in Port-au-Prince. Here is her picture. Help me. Please. The iReport team and scores of our unstoppably kind and dedicated colleagues and friends pitched in to organize all those pleas for help into a database that we could sort and share and show on television. To get the word out about the missing and the found, and, hopefully, put families back together.  So. January 15. I’m sitting at my desk in the newsroom. I look up at my TV and see Wolin Delerme, a woman who’d shared a photo of her sister on iReport earlier in the week, talking with Wolf Blitzer via Skype. Blitzer had shown the photo of Delerme’s missing sister on television earlier the same day. Miraculously, someone in Haiti saw the broadcast and happened to recognize Delerme’s sister, who was nearby. He connected the two sisters by telephone, and Delerme called in to CNN to share the good news. That day, the power of iReport put a family back together. It’s just one story in a million. And I’ll remember it forever.


hhanks: Every so often you get an iReport that's so incredible, it's beyond belief. That happened to us on the morning of April 9. Several videos were posted from Cairo, Egypt of a helicopter hovering over one of the Egyptian pyramids. The iReporter, Darrel Butler - who was visiting from Austin, Texas - said that a man had climbed the pyramid. "All of a sudden this large military chopper came right over and to the top of the pyramid," he told me. "We heard our guide talking to other Egyptians in loud voices and he told us a crazy person had actually scaled and made it to the top with the police in pursuit." Immediately, we contacted the CNN international desk to find out what we could about the incident. As the weekend had already begun, they weren't too optimistic that we would get an answer right away. Minutes later, however, they responded to us confirming that it had taken place, saying in a statement, "Last night, April 8, a visitor to the pyramids, Hassan Farooq Anter, 24, climbed the Hafra Pyramid (the second biggest), and the police asked a specialist to climb the pyramid to arrest the man. However, due to fear that Anter had hidden weapons, the specialist refused. This afternoon, April 9, an army helicopter came down and apprehended Anter." At the time, the reason he climbed the pyramid was unknown. This video went viral online and it was just another example of how CNN iReport can break news.

ccostello3: When I started my internship with iReport in June, the BP Oil Spill was really starting to take its toll on the people of the Gulf Coast. As a team, we decided that it would be best to share the stories of iReporters who had been living through and documenting the disaster as the oil washed up onto their shores. We posted these amazing stories of heartbreak, anger and survival on our blog as part of our Gulf Journal series, and I had the privilege to write six of the posts. Even though months have past since I wrote these posts, I still remember every interview and detail that helped me build these stories. I will never forget Gregg Hall's videos of oil washing over the white beaches of Pensacola, Florida, or Eileen Romero's determination and motivation to drive hours to Grand Isles, Louisiana to share what was happening to a place she spent so much time at as a child or Karen Baker's concern for the wildlife of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi. These iReporters along with all the others who shared their stories from the Gulf are truly inspirational, and I will never forget all the time I spent talking to them and helping them to share their stories with the world.

rachel8: My favorite story of the year wasn't exactly the newsiest - actually, it wasn't really newsy at all, by the traditional definition. But here at iReport, we're all about telling people's personal stories. And what's more personal than a name? I loved writing our "what's in a name?" piece because I felt like I really got to know the iReporters that contributed. Everyone in the world has a story behind their name, and everyone's affected by their name to some extent. So it was fascinating to hear about people's names and how inextricably linked they are to their identities. Plus, it was one of our first stories where iReporters and CNNers collaborated - we ended up with stories from both in the final piece! I can't wait to see what you share with us in 2011.

dsashin: I joined Team iReport in August, and have been privileged to be part of several amazing projects, including CNN30 and the iReport Global Challenge. But my favorite day at iReport in 2010 was October 13, when CNN viewers all over the world watched as many of the trapped Chilean miners came to the surface and rushed into the arms of waiting family members. The best were the stories of young children taking part in a rare feel-good news story. In particular, I remember little Inés Castillo Pike in Spain, who used a paper towel tube and her Prince Charming toy to explain how the miners were rescued, and the little girls in California who joined the miners and rescuers in chanting "Chi Chi Chi le le le los mineros de Chile!"

zdan: iReport has a special way of making the universal into something personal. When the U.S. Senate decided not to extend unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans back in June, we wanted to find a way to translate this huge number into a tangible story. Miriam Cintron was one of the million losing her benefits. She was forced to make a difficult choice between paying for health insurance and daily expenses. Cintron’s brave story helped shed light on this phenomenon and painted a picture of what it’s really like to be unemployed.

katie: The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was a pretty special moment for me this year. That’s because we raised the bar by asking iReporters to go out and revisit the devastated places that they had photographed in 2005. Their new photos told stories of frustration and hope – while some places had fully rebuilt, others saw little change in five years. The project also gave me the exciting opportunity to meet several iReporters in person, including Lauren DiMaggio, Eileen Romero and Conrad Wyre, who impressed and inspired us with their powerful then-and-now photographs and personal recollections of the storm. I’m really proud of how the final product turned out; it’s something we couldn’t have done without a dedicated group of iReporters on the ground.

nsaidi: Probably one of my favorite moments of the year was around the midterm elections when people were showing us their polling locations and taking pictures of their election stickers. The stickers in particular were such a personal and wacky lens in the election. Nothing other than iReport could have showed that. We saw the insignias of faraway places and even a sticker smaller than a dime. I like how iReport can show the cultural side of things.

jsarverCNN: I started as an intern at CNN iReport a month after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. One of the most amazing stories I came across was one of a survivor who was trapped under rubble for four weeks. It was hard to believe that someone could survive under those conditions for so long.  But when Dr. Sanjay Gupta located the survivor in Haiti, the story transformed from one of disbelief to an amazing account of survival and determination. I am still amazed by the stories iReport continues to uncover.

davidw: It's hard to pick just one highlight for 2010, but if I have to I'd have to say that the response to CNN iReport boot camp was my favorite. It was inspiring to see that so many people were willing to put in so much work -- and it was hard work -- because they wanted to become better reporters. That hard work has paid off in your iReports and we look forward to trying new boot camp projects in 2011. The other great thing is how excited our colleagues at CNN were to work with you. The other great thing (yeah, I'm not just picking one) was that the the midterm elections went by minimal drama. Sure there was partisanship and some spirited debate, but everyone who was here in 2008 can tell you how far we've come as a community.

That was our year. What was yours like? Well, see below:

We've really appreciated all of your iReports this past year (iReport literally conquered the world!) and look forward to more in 2011! Happy New Year!

January 6, 2011
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I would like to see more news on CNN about;

U.S. Official’s Death in Connection with Dead Birds and Fish in Arkansas

January 6, 2011
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Former U.S. Officer working for the Secretary of the Air Force John Wheeler's death is a mystery but the report released by the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) is even more shocking. In this document, it is stated that the U.S. official was murdered because he threatened to go public as to how the military’s test of poisonous gas killed the birds and fish in Arkansas.


When it was first reported that 5,000 Blackbirds randomly fell from the sky, many thought it was the “sign of the times”. Later, thousands of fish were found dead. These occurrences seemed of Biblical proportions. However, according to the GRU, the deaths have a reasonable explanation which the former U.S. official was planning to expose.

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