The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Please join us here in the blog at 2:30 p.m. ET for our weekly roundtable discussion. At last week's roundtable, a few users asked about vetting, so we thought this would be a good time to talk about how the team decides what stories to focus on and discuss what makes a good iReport. We'll take a look at a few submissions in particular and share tips for making them better.
We've also got a cool leap year project brewing, so we want to give you a sneak peak.
This is also a good time to talk about any questions or concerns you have. Comments will open at 2:30 p.m ET.
Welcome to the roundtable. We're looking forward to talking with you and hope we're able to give you a better idea of what we're thinking when we are looking for good stories. We spend a most of our time searching for interesting iReports and we ask ourselves a few questions while we're on the site:
1) Is it breaking news or a story that's getting a lot of coverage on CNN?
2) Would it be good for a project we're working on?
3) Is it interesting? Did it add a new perspective? Was it fun to watch?
Then we vet as many of the best stories that meet one or more of those guidelines as we can.
We often give feedback on how people can make their stories better, and we had some volunteers who have agreed to let us share those tips, and we’ll look at those first. During the second half of the roundtable, we’ll talk about our Leap Day plans and other active assignments.
Hello everyone! I'm looking forward to today’s discussion. We often get a lot of questions about why particular iReports get approved for use and what makes a good story, and we’re looking forward to chatting about that with you all.
good afternoon everyone
Where is everyone ?
Hi NuYwk! It looks like a small group right now. We're going to wait for a few others before sharing our first example.
How's it going NuYwk.
We're off to a bit of a slow start today. Got any questions while we are waiting for folks?
Sorry, I'm late...hello, all!
Hello k3vsDad! No worries at all.
Good to have k2vsDad.
I haven't looked at assignments lately but I wonder if there is one for reporting on this strange "winter" ?
Good question, NuYwk. We have a winter weather assignment: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/521316 A lot of people are talking about the unseasonably warm winter, so that would make a great iReport. People are wearing shorts here -- it would make for a great photo gallery!
Hi guys...hey Henry..that was hella fast..lol :)
I don't think there is one specifically, Nu, but it has been weird for sure.
What is the general timeline for a story once it has been posted to the time it is vetted? And, are there some stories that are never vetted at all?
Ok! Let’s get started. I wanted to share an example from iReporter JherryPhons, who asked for feedback on some of his recent submissions that didn’t get vetted. A good example is this iReport from a Dog’s Day Out event in New Zealand: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-733955
There were a lot of things that worked about this iReport: The video and photos were great, but I would love to see and hear more detail about the event. It would have been fantastic if he included footage of the competition (b-roll), but also interviewed a judge or owner about the event.
When you are filming or writing the description of your iReports, it's helpful to think of the 5W rule: You should include the following information that people will want to know -- who, what, when, where, and why.
So for the Dog’s Day Out event, Jherry could have answered these questions: Who typically attends this event (is it general public or invite-only)? What is the competition all about? When and where was it held? Why should we care about this event?
The "why" question is a particularly good one to consider. Since iReport is a global site, it's important to figure out what makes your story interesting to people across the world (i.e. why people should care). We are firm believers that everyone has interesting stories to share, so it shouldn't be too tough to figure that out!
I suspect 99% of stories aren't vetted.
Apologies for lateness (horrid traffic on the warmest English day - around 18 degrees!- for months!)
Kudos to Ireports for having a quicker response to removing Ireporets that contained nudity or obscenity
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me the Headline of an iReport is what will capture the attention of the iReport team enough to get it looked at or vetted. Seems to me if the headline isn't interesting, the story probably won't be read. Would I be correct?
I just saw the facebook post by ireport asking for reports on gas prices...I have some great b-roll footage of my last fill up at 4.07 a gallon..for over $70...what do you think? maybe add a voice over and speed up the film?
Hello, how are you?
Good question @RBMcGrath. The iReport Team is based on the East Coast, so we generally vet iReports at a higher volume during business hours here, though there are CNNers around the world who watch the site for breaking news and good submissions about the clock.
And yes, there are iReports that don't get vetted. Around 7% of the stories to our site get approved for CNN. We generally vet the ones that are most interesting and have the best chance of impacting the news of the day.
MelissaF, be sure to include details on the vehicles your driving and what the govt says their gas mileage should be
Yeah, I did up an iReport today that gave a snapshot of current (as 1p.m. ET) gas prices in every state. Lowest is Denver, Colorado and highest is in Orlando, Florida.
So, it's the headline of the story that makes the difference in capturing the reviewers attention. Correct?
Hey MelissaF - That sounds great (except for the $4.07 part) I think if you want to do a voice over and speed it up that could be cool.
NuYwk...great question.....I recently bought my wife a $50K vehicle and it's suppose to get 24 MPG...the best it will do is 24 MPG
A greetings of good morning from Philippines.
ok..working on it now...it was in my iphone..hehe
@RBMcGrath The headline isn't the only factor in whether we approve an iReport, but it plays a huge role in what captures people's attention! We actually shared tips about writing strong headlines during the iReport boot camp (trying to dig up that link now!).
Is there any thought to giving us a spellcheck ability in the title block?
@Katie...I noticed there are some iReporters that do have problems with catchy headlines...can you guys change them? or recommend to the iReporter before putting the tag on?
Bingo! I knew it. I work hard to try to make my headline interesting enough to ya'll, so you will want to read the rest of the story. Whew! Headlines are tough! But hey, I managed to get one story on CNN so I'm happy.
Other factors besides headlines that play into whether an iReport gets vetted are quality (i.e. amazing images or video), timeliness (especially in breaking news situations), and whether the iReport relates to a project we're working on.
Hey MelissaF and everyone:
I just took another look at the assignment and they're also asking for a couple of other things.
1. Snap a photo of the highest gas price you encounter.
2. Include the name of the gas station, the location, and the date.
3. Tell us your breaking point: At what price will you alter your driving habits?
I think your idea is great addition, but this is what they're focusing on.
Is UK "petrol" of interest .. I"ve just done a quick calculation, UK litres to US gallons and Sterling Pounds to USD .. we're paying $8.02 to $8.30 per US gallon (diesel, which is heavily used here, is about 50c more).
@MelissaF Good suggestion! We're trying to do a better job of giving feedback to iReporters -- part of the reason we're hosting this roundtable! -- and will remember to give headline feedback more often.
Here's a link to the gas prices assignment so everyone can see the details:
@AlunHill Wow! Yes, it's always interesting to get an international perspective! Please join in the gas prices assignment.
One would think that what would get an Ireport Vetted is a story that CNN had NOT given attention to like the lack of attention over all for the Veterans for Ron Paul event this past monday where hundreds of Vets and Active Duty Military assembled in DC to Protest the job Obama is doing and to show their support for Ron Paul. Its undeniable that this was a major event completely missed by CNN and the others...
@AlunHill...and here I thought we had it bad!
But Whitney Houston dies of her own vices and BOOM!! Days and Days worth of front page plastered stories.. There is a very serious disconnect of priorites in the media!!
I would love to see a better selection of assignments.
Question: Which categories are best suited to Personal Opinion or Personal Stories, even when the subject is not an ongoing assignment?
My 3 last iReports are: Resignation of the German President, Transport Strike in Berlin and today Memorial Ceremony for the Victims of Neo-Nazis. These are top issues here in Germany and also in Europe. Why don´t you interest in these iReports?
Hello @TeaParty432 -- welcome to the roundtable! We received a few iReports from that event, but unfortunately none of them were original photos or video. We only approve iReport stories that belong to the person who uploaded them.
That said, we'd love to approve iReports on that event. It sounds fascinating! And if you weren't there, you're welcome to share your thoughts on the media's coverage (or lack thereof) on our Sound Off assignment: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/7233
Sharing your opinions with the world is what iReport is all about!
TeaParty432......YOU HAVE TOLD THE TRUTH...Veteran do not matter, but a rich alcholis and doper gets priority
Melissa's question brings up another good tip.
If you're responding to an assignment, be sure to follow any instructions that are included.
If we're planning to create some sort of photo project from an assignment, we probably won't be able to use video in it.
We might still vet a video if we have time, but if the producer is rushing to finish the photo project that may not be possible.
OK - I'll get some footage tomorrow (and I drive a 3.5 litre car -most cars here are 1 to 1.6 litres) so I'm really hit!
I'm sorry I can't spell today went to dentist
@markpel I would be happy to share some direct feedback on your iReports if you'd like to send me a private message. I'm afraid there's not time for specific feedback in this roundtable since the discussion is moving quickly, but I'm happy to take a look later!
Sometimes the vetting questions cover any missing information and i think that solves the problem for good iReports.
@1dro What kind of assignments would you like to see? We're always open to suggestions.
Hi @arasqaure! It's nice to see you here. Thanks for sending periodic updates from Cairo.
@arasquare Good point! That's why we have the CNN Producer Note field on iReport stories. It definitely helps to fill in the blanks. And that's why we reach out to iReporters to get that information! It's one of the best parts of our job.
Hello All.. Am late in the game!
@RBMcGrath Re: Personal stories -- what exactly do you mean? I'm not sure I'm following your question.
I don't know how to word it. Maybe, look at the ones I did on homeless and solutions, solving landfill issues. I am trying to reedit the video on the landfill diversion, it was choppy.
Wow @AlunHill looking forward to that.
@ikatie: I would like to see assignments on life in small town America and how Regular People are fighting to survive in this horrible economy. How are we living, how are we surviving, what kind of things do we do when we can't really do anything anymore, what are we all about, how do we feel about the lack of control in our lives...and more.
Hi everybody. I almost missed this. phew.
@1dro Those sound like really interesting topics. For what it's worth, some of the best stories we feature aren't related to particular assignments at all. They're just good stories that are worth telling!
Also, have you seen our "Impact Your World" assignment? Your homeless iReport in particular sounds like a good fit: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/733649
I did two iReports today and today is my first day. The two revolved around diet and Multiple Sclerosis and am not sure if such reports are considered for vetting. Any thoughts are appreciated!
There are lots of readers that want a variety of things, not just celebs, drugs, and war. I value the unrest issues and war, but others don't as much. Politics don't matter and anything more than 50 miles away.
I've seen the notes re pix not film, so will do a few tomorrow.
And I'll be wincing when I see how cheap you guys get your gas!
@RBMcGrath I love those topics. Really! We'll keep them in mind for future assignments, but you're always welcome to share your perspective on stories whether or not we have a related assignment.
Some of the best stories aren't related to an assignment at all, like this fun dodgeball video we recently approved for use: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-751983
@ikatie Well, say for instance your sitting on the couch, and you realize that something that happened to you, or may happen to you, or could happen to you, or perhaps you had a touch with fame, or whatever, and you think people would enjoy hearing about it, but it's not covered under assignments topics, so you just write it. Which categories or category is best for that?
Hey...picking on us political junkies, 1dro...LOL.
David, thank you for covering the the issue of vetting. As you know I am very concerned about how Scott Cannon's important videos on fracking lost its vet. One was even picked as a "favorite" but the two that were vetted got removed and Scott found a gas industry forum where a commenter took responsibility for having it removed.
I feel we should be given some sort of explanation. This just doesn't seem right to me.
I know you told him to email you and he did. I hope you can explain what process you use to remove a vet. Thank you.
I'm going to go ahead and share a bit of feedback I gave to CherryLA about the iReport she sent about this weekend's Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles.
She got a lot of neat photos and videos and edited them together into a video.
She also wrote a really good text description of her experience.
I'm a huge Doctor Who fan and enjoyed watching the whole video, but it was 7 minutes long, so a casual sci-fi fan might not want to invest that kind of time and would miss out on some neat photos.
I suggested she pick her 10 favorite photos/videos and upload them, so readers could quickly flip through and enjoy the scene.
Plus it would probably be a lot less work for her.
One thing to keep in mind when it come to both vetting and assignments is that the iReport Team is a relatively small group. There are a handful of us building assignments, vetting stories, and producing content, so we try to keep things at a manageable level!
We have a rule that we always produce something from the assignments we launch, so that may help explain why there aren't a ton of new assignments on a daily basis.
I don't know if the history one would do for my visit to Sudan in 99. The bomb had just been dropped on the Rx factory and I was the first American in country and the first to tour the bomb crater from America, 6 months later.
That iReport didn't go through our proper processes. That's why the vetted stamp was removed.
@RBMcGrath No category needed! Just upload it and don't worry about attaching it to an assignment. We are constantly looking at the stream of incoming iReports, so we see everything, regardless of whether or not stories are attached to assignments.
Apologies for the lateness (only saw this at the top of the page when I clicked the article about gas prices. Could I ask (on the subject of vetting) which is the more likely to be vetted, a video or a photograph?
What was wrong with it, if you don't mind David?
@HarryWales Good question! Video and photos have equal chance to get vetted, but we tend to vet shorter videos (between 1-3 minutes) much more often than longer ones since that's what viewers are generally looking for. A good excuse to work on your editing chops!
Bingo. Thank katie. That answers my question. And it makes it a lot easier than trying to fish through all the categories.
So question you may feel certain stories are worth venting but there are many over looked how can you open the door for more stories that are off the beaten path to get their time? Instead of the same thing over and over let’s get fresh angles out there. Yes?
David, his videos met and surpassed all the criteria you stated above. Was there some inaccuracy in his video?
@HarryWales Likewise, iReports with multiple photos versus just one photo have a better chance of getting vetted. You can attach up to 10 images per submission, and you should! People love to click through photo galleries.
Hi zdan, it's nice to see you here too. I hope my iReports give you an inside look at what's going on in Egypt
@RBMcGrath Hooray! You're welcome.
Do personal stories that impact others just like the person who reports get vetted? In other words I have a report on Multiple Sclerosis and would such reports be considered at all?
@rosehips: It wouldn't meet CNN's editorial standards.
One more question and then I'll make room for others: I've notice that when I click the Explore button to scan the latest iReports, sometimes the same report will be repeated as many as fifteen times or more and I have to keep clicking through page after page to get to see the next latest report. What is it than a single report can be repeated so many times when one is exploring the latest iReports?
Testing, Test, Test. Is this think on? I guess my microphone is broken in this forum.
@TWW1 We love off-the-beaten path stories. They're the ones that may not have crossed CNN's radar otherwise. I would suggest following some of the tips to tell the story well (see my guidance about the 5Ws above) to make sure it's clear why a worldwide audience should care about those stories!
@davidw re: "That iReport didn't go through our proper processes. That's why the vetted stamp was removed."
What part of your normal procedure did Scott's videos not go through, David?
Howdy all! I am so happy to see photo club and photo essay back. Although headline news is of course first and foremost there are a lot of us that appreciate more personal assignments, life day to day, the beauty of nature, gardening, wildlife, travel, pets and the lighter side of the news. We don't want to debate, or haggle or be intimidated , just enjoy.
@RBMcGrath Hm. That sounds like a bug. Can you please send me a private message about the issue (and include what browser you use)? I'll have our tech team look into it.
What are your thoughts on a 3 to 5 series of vets,, Example Iwould like to do a series on the American Cancer Society's "Relay For Life" as they take in Millions each year but their salaries are a scam? Iknow I have been involved with them as a Volunteer
@davidw re: @rosehips: "It wouldn't meet CNN's editorial standards." David, can you share with us what about his video didn't pass your standards? This would be useful for other ireporters who want to make compelling videos to be vetted.
@EsterVasa - That sounds like it could be a fascinating story, especially if you talked with a person/people who have MS and they talk about their experiences and their fears.
Katie, you can say now what you think. We speak about vetting.
@EstherVasa Yes! In fact we have an assignment for iReports about making an impact on others: http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/733649
David, I appreciate you answering my questions.
@Ryn - Yay, I'm glad you are enjoying the photography assignments! I definitely enjoy stumbling across incredible photos from all over the world when I'm perusing the site each morning. And thanks for the sky prism photos earlier this week!
Great to see you @Ryn
Thank you Katie! As its my first day I wasn't quite sure. I need to browse through and check for how to make my iReports acceptable.
@JVHill That sounds interesting! Can you email me some more details? I'd love to hear more about what you're thinking!
Will do Thanks
This hour is going fast.
Let's shift gears so we can talk about the Leap Year assignment before we run out of time.
Hello, everyone. I'm jumping in with one quick suggestion before jumping out again. I'll check back later for an answer. Here it is: Can we get rid of the "favorite" feature? It's turned out to be nothing more than "if you favorite my post, I'll favorite yours" and really has nothing to do with quality or interest.
I'm traveling and working a lot so I don't have time to come on this site everyday and "favorite" all of my buddies' posts and if I don't it seems they get upset about it. I've even gotten emails from iReporters complaining about it or saying they won't favorite my posts if I don't favorite theirs. Silly and disingenuous.
Thanks for you consideration. Ciao!
How can we find out which iReports went to Bill Gates? etc.
On another topic, I raised this before and am wondering if you are reaching out to ireporters who's reports get on tv to let them know if it is broadcast. It's been a while since any of my reports have been vetted so I don't know if you followed up on this.
Wow, joyful. emails? I mostly have forgotten about that feature. I rarely use it.
I'm really not being rude here, but we all have iReports which don't get successfully vetted.
Journalism standards are very high generally, and especially so at CNN.
Can we stop the debate and repeated questions about one particular report please, as I'm sure it's irritating for everyone else, especially for a 2nd week.
We all want to learn what gets us vetted successfully - and are adult enough to accept that we won't always be successful.
And if I've overstepped the mark here, I genuinely apologise. I just want insight in a general way.
@JoyfulGypsy Hello! Unfortunately, we can't get rid of the favorite feature -- that would require a huge redesign, and we don't have the resources for that right now. (Plus we just launched this new look a few months ago!)
Your feedback is helpful, though, we're looking at ways to make the homepage feed more dynamic so we'll take that into consideration. Thanks!
We're going to what we think is going to be a fun Leap Day challenge on February 29.
Basically, we're asking people all over the world to jump that day.
You can be as creative as you want, but don't jump of of anything too high because we don't want you to get hurt.
Here's a blog post with a few more details:
I've been considering doing up a "Sadie Hawkins Day" iReport for the upcoming Leap Day.
@AlunHill Thanks for your perspective! I agree that talking more broadly about tips rather than specific cases is likely more helpful for everyone. We hope to continue it in the future, so keep the feedback coming!
I just had to look up that "favorite" feature. If your"friends" are asking for a quid pro quo then they aren't being objective are they ?
We'd like to encourage you to get your friends to get involved too.
It might be a fun way to get out and move for a few minutes.
It will also be an awesome way to show how vast and awesome the iReport community is.
@1dro - The Bill Gates iReport Interview will be published on CNN.com on Monday! We can't wait to see the result. We were overwhelmed and amazed at the 100+ questions we received.
Alun, point well taken. Sorry to be so annoying. I'm sure others here can relate. lol
@Rosehips Yes, we do our best to let iReporters know whenever we see that their content is featured on TV.
@esthervesa I've had a quick look at your iReports today - and strongly suspect you could do really well here.
Do some pieces to camera (I know it's not always easy, but that can make good, honest, TV) and tell us all more about your situation.
You have a nice easy, welcoming, style.
Ok, all. It's about time to wrap up. I enjoyed the conversation and questions! I hope you all found it useful.
If you have additional questions, we're always here to help. You can send us private messages and we'll do our best to answer!
Thanks Zdan and Henry! Hi!
I have to agree with Gypsy on the favorite feature. It is almost like the star system (OMG!) minus the one star bandit, still along the same lines. I understand this would be a major undertaking, but maybe something to keep in mind for the next update.
So is that how it works? Its more like Facebook in that they won't favorite my posts if I don't favorite theirs. I’m thinking the review process need a review.
I think Iv gotten the hang of large number of views, with your help and Daphnes, & I got luck with well over 6,000 views on my MLK post. However, I am still mystified by the 36,000+ views some other iReporters rack up lol.
Regarding the favorites feature, I know I and others use it to highlight the iReports we think the rest of the community should see.
It's been nice talking with you.
We'll be back next week.
@Katie: Thank you.
@Rosehips: Yes, two unhappy emails.
@NuYwk: No, they are not. That's exactly my point.
Now, I must run. Have a great weekend, everyone. :o)
What fun. Thanks Katie and Team. Fun, fun, fun.
@1dro: If your ireport to Bill Gates didn't get vetted, it won't be on tv. The last time they asked for questions to Bill, they chose mine to be shown to Mr. Gates. But Wolf Blitzer got the background info to my question so wrong that it was completely out of context. So Bill answered a question about work visas and didn't address outsourcing like I asked. Besides that he botched my name too. :)
Thank you David. That's very encouraging to know. Yes, the story is called "STAND UP" for the cause of Multiple Sclerosis! Most of us can't stand up and I had to make this as my heading. Thanks again.
I think it would be nice if the iReport team could release a weekly or a monthly video that could give us tips on how to make our stories better.
Don't pick on Wolfie now !!!
re leap year - I can see the headlines now - 1 million iReporters jump at once and put planet Earth out of sync - all clocks to go back 1 hour!
As far as the vetting procedure is concerned, I think its pretty good. I like the questions which cover tech info - concept.
What Id like to know is how the stories are assigned to producers. For each story, I get three immediate hits, which I assume are producers or executive producers who decide if the story is CNN worthy. Is that so, or do all producers see all uploaded stories and decide if they want to Post a particular story.
Have a great weekend to everyone.
One last PSA for fans of "The Big Bang Theory" or "Ocean's Eleven"/"Hotel Rwanda" star Don Cheadle - post your video questions!
Oops a second link for you:
Hello everybody, can's participate in discussion, because of time difference. But anyway I have a question:
If painted news (lol) or animated news reports (lol) have a chance to be vetted for CNN?
If it is your original content, yes!
Greetings from the Windy City (chicago IL ) Please I ask for my story to get vetted. We ask the public to help us find Destiny Gruba who has been missing since Feb 15,2012. PLEASE HELP US !!!!!