Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Top five: Technology lessons learned

Editor's note: CNN's citizen journalism initiative, iReport, is celebrating its fifth birthday this month. To mark the occasion, we're taking a look at some of iReport's shining moments in a series of top five posts on a variety of topics. Today, iReport tech guru Pete Bethany shares some major lessons he and his team have learned while working on the site.


In the five years since iReport was launched, major news events have brought with them new technology challenges. Launching a new website devoted to building a community of citizen journalists was the first major challenge we faced, but certainly not the last. Here are a few of the stories and that stand out from the perspective of the web development team responsible for creating and maintaining the site.


The start of it all: iReport.com launch


The beta iReport web site, which launched on February 13, 2008, demanded a full range of features: uploading and processing every imaginable video and image format, automatic content publishing, commenting, blogs, private messages, profiles, avatars ... the list goes on and on. Among other things, we learned very quickly that we needed sophisticated tools for the editors and moderators to manage the site and to thwart the many would-be spammers of the world.


Worldwide celebrations: New Year’s Eve 2008


On December 31, 2008, we launched an assignment topic for all the New Year’s revelers of the world to send pictures of their parties. And they did, in VERY large numbers. At around 11:00 p.m. ET, with CNN anchors encouraging everyone to participate, we saw a huge influx of pictures and videos flood into the system. File systems were overwhelmed and alarms went off. Software developers were dragged from their own parties to come to the office and deal with the mass of digital media from all over the world. Fortunately, it turned out to be a perfect practice run for news events just around the corner.


The Moment: Obama's presidential inauguration


During the inauguration of President Obama in 2009, we received more than 12,000 iReports in less than 24 hours – the most to date – and the New Years event helped prepare us to handle the load. In addition to preparing for the site traffic spikes, we joined with Microsoft to pull iReporters images into a dynamic panorama capturing The Moment.


Haiti earthquake: iReport repurposed


When an earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, thousands of family members flocked to the iReport web site to report missing loved ones. As a result, we adapted the standard media upload form to capture specific information designed to help people contact their friends and family in Haiti. Data was compiled into a database with more than 4,000 submissions and status updates. We learned that the technology behind the site needs to be flexible enough to adapt at a moments notice to demands we never expected when the site was launched.


Hurricane Irene: A moving target


Most recently, Hurricane Irene was featured as an iReport Open Story and this event provided the opportunity to add new data sources to the map view on our Open Story page. Layering the NOAA forecast cone and storm track data over the locations of iReports created a unique way to see this story unfold. In the future, we will undoubtedly be looking for new data sources to combine with information from the iReport system to help visualize events of the world.

1 Comment
September 20, 2011
Click to view jinjin2011's profile

Billige Nike Sko , Shox Sko , Nike Air Max, Nike Shox Sko , Kobe Basketball Sko , Nike Dunk SB Sko , Lebron James Basketball Sko Til Salge. (www.dunkskobillige.com)

Billige Nike Shox Sko in Salg Gratis Forsendelse, involves Nike Shox R4, Nike Shox NZ, Nike Shox Lever, Shox Turbo and so leaving! Køb DIN Discount Nike Shox ...

nike sko , nike shox turbo, Shox Sko , Shox NZ, dame shox, billige shox, nike herre shox tilnike shox . (www.dunkskobillige.com)

HerWe selger Nike Shox Sko Billig , Alle Vare Billige Nike Shox is with Høy quality, mænd Lav prices.Free frakt and Ingen Salg skatt


You must be logged in to post a comment.

About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.

Categories Recent posts Monthly Subscribe