Friday, November 18, 2011
Warm hearts at Chicago iReport meetup

From left to right: iReporters Diana Nguyen, Kris Nequin, Chris Sanders, CNN iReport news producer Christina Zdanowicz, iReporter Rob Benetti and Patch editor Renita Young. Special thanks to Patch editor Paul Dailing for being our photographer!

 

When it comes to Chicago, I’m definitely biased. I’m from here and I love it. Now I have another reason to love the Windy City: the iReporters are great!

 

Four iReporters braved the 30-degree weather and met up with me at Hopleaf Bar in the Andersonville neighborhood last night. And, two editors from local Patch.com sites – hyperlocal news sites run by do-it-all journalists – brought their savvy about community journalism to the table. We all enjoyed a few beers and a conversation that lasted almost four hours!

 

Going around the table, I asked for peoples’ real names and their iReport usernames. And when I met Kris Nequin, aka turtle, I couldn’t believe it. Nequin was one of the beta testers before iReport launched in 2008. He was amazed with how iReport has been better integrated into CNN over the years, he said.

 

 

Next to Kris was Chris Sanders, a submitter who came to us after Team iReport found his hilarious rant about Netflix posted on YouTube. He even shot a quick video at the meetup in true vlogger style. (He promised me an iReport, and here it is.)

 

Newcomer to the iReport scene Rob Benetti explained how he’s using iReport as a way to transition into a new career: photojournalism. We’re always tickled pink to have new submitters joining the community.

 

And even though I overpacked and couldn’t fit any iReport T-shirts into my carry-on, Diana Nguyen saved the day. She brought some iReport birthday shirts from the attempted Chicago meetup in August. Thanks, Diana!

 

It may have been cold out, but I can tell you that Chicago iReporters certainly have warm hearts.

 

It was a pleasure meeting all of you and I hope we can grow an even stronger iReport community in Chicago!

5 Comments
November 20, 2011
Click to view csanders's profile

Awesome. This should be annual. It was great getting to meet everyone and learn about other iReporters.  Thank you for the kind words Christina. I always keep my promises.

November 22, 2011
Click to view RJB619's profile

As a newbie to the scene it was both insightful and fun to meet other iReporters, industry pro's and of course Christina, who was kind enough to make it happen. I learned a great deal about the history and process of iReporting and look forward to cutting my photojournalistic teeth in this open and supportive forum.

November 22, 2011
Click to view zdan's profile

Thanks for the kind words, Chris and Rob! It was a pleasure meeting both of you. Hope to see more of both of you on iReport!

November 29, 2011
Click to view turtle's profile

sorry it took so long for me to post!  so busy with work with the holiday last week!  this is an awesome post!  thanks for organizing it!  it was cool to meet and build a rapport with other iReporters and industry professionals!  let me know when you are back in town for a meet-up!

December 1, 2011
Click to view zdan's profile

Thanks turtle. I wish I could have monthly Chicago meetups if I could get away with it!

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