Blog : April 2013
CNN iReport Facebook roundtable Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

You hear so much about kids with autism, but adults on the spectrum have their own struggles, and the workplace can be one of them. After we received two iReports on this topic, we decided to pursue it further.


So, on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the last day of Autism Awareness Month, we will be holding a roundtable chat on CNN’s Facebook page on autism and Asperger’s in the workplace. iReporters and experts will be taking your questions and sharing their experiences in a discussion on this subject and the challenges they’ve seen. We'd also like to hear about your views and experiences as well.

Joining us will be Dave Wellman of Myriad Genetics, who has worked with and managed employees with Asperger's syndrome; Becky Ketts of Nobis Works - which provides job training for those with disabilities and other barriers;  and iReporter Sarah Still, who recently iReported on her personal challenges with Asperger's.


We hope to hear from you tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on CNN’s Facebook and look forward to your contributions to our discussion!

Posted by:
// April 29, 2013
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Posted in: community
2013 iReport Awards: Watch the finalists »

There are two weeks left to vote for the 2013 CNN iReport Community Choice Award! If you haven’t had a chance to review the iReport Awards nominees, we’ve made a quick video recap of each category. Watch them below, vote here, and then let us know which iReport you choose.


Each of the iReports nominated for the iReport Awards are outstanding examples of participatory journalism and our talented panel of judges will select the recipients in each of the six categories: Breaking News, Original Reporting, Commentary, Compelling Imagery, Personal Story and In-depth Storytelling.


The Community Choice Award recognizes the story that resonates with you, the iReport community. Remember, you can vote once every 24 hours until May 6.  The awards will be announced May 14 on


Breaking News


Original Reporting


Compelling Imagery




Personal Story


In-Depth Storytelling

Posted by: dsashin // April 22, 2013
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Posted in: ireport_awards
iReport millionaires' club: Congratulations Omekongo Dibinga! »

We like to give a virtual toast whenever one of our contributors hits 1 million page views. This time, we're proud to honor Omekongo Dibinga, a two-time iReport Award nominee and master pundit.

Besides being a motivational speaker and spoken-word performer, he is a social activist, married with two daughters — a recent iReport talks about how he and his wife balance their personal dreams with their daughters' needs -- a PhD student at the University of Maryland (his dissertation is "an intellectual history of Jay-Z"), as well as a faithful iReport cheerleader. He is also a teaching assistant at Georgetown University for Michael Eric Dyson's very popular sociology class devoted to Jay Z ( “Sociology of Hip-Hop — Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z").

Dibinga has taken a hard look at his own feelings toward women and shared his thoughts on President Obama's 2012 DNC speech at the convention itself, to name only a few of his most memorable moments in iReport punditry. He's even weighed in on another of his passions, comic books, from time to time.

Dibinga is currently nominated for an iReport Award in the Commentary category for his feelings about the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case (view below).

So here's to one of our top iReport pundits, and here's to one million more to come!

Posted by:
// April 9, 2013
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Posted in: community
iReport Awards: How you can join »

The iReport Awards are back and they are better than ever!

We are bursting with pride about the quality of the 3rd Annual iReport Awards finalists. From Sam Wessels – a 10-year-old boy who opened up about what it’s like to live with autism -- to Femi Green-Adebo, a Nigerian photographer who ran to the scene of a fiery plane crash in his neighborhood -- the 36 nominees represent the best of CNN iReport: Raw, passionate and full of heart.

Many of the iReport Awards nominees had the courage to share eye-witness accounts in the aftermath of haunting experiences. Denver videographer Adam Witt was sitting in the Aurora, Colorado, theater when a gunman killed 12 people.  He told us the experience left him with rippling emotional effects he hadn’t expected. Florida mother Jess Hathaway’s decisionto pull her boys from the Boy Scouts – and then tell CNN’s millions of readers about it -- was equally courageous in its own way.

The finalists include professional filmmakers and photographers who wanted to give their stories a world stage (like Navid Baraty, who shot the above photo of crowds in Times Square watching the Mars Rover landing), and first-time iReporters who had no idea what would happen after they clicked the upload button. Then there are the nominees in our new In-depth Storytelling category, who stayed with their stories for weeks and months, and in some cases, years.

We hope you’ll help us honor them by visiting the Awards site on a computer or tablet and voting for the story that moves you the most.

There are six categories: Breaking News, Original Reporting, Compelling Imagery, Commentary, Personal Story and In-depth Storytelling.

Our panel of judges will select a recipient for each category. But you get to decide who gets the Community Choice Award! Click on the iReport you feel most deserves it and vote once a day until May 6. You can vote for any of the 36 nominees in the six categories. Then check back May 14 to see the results.

Beyond voting, we hope you will join our community and share a story of your own. Your voice plays a crucial part in the stories CNN tells. We often use the term “citizen journalism,” but that doesn’t fully cover what CNN iReport is. At its core, it’s simply regular people sharing glimpses of their lives in their own words and pictures. Every day, we look for new ways to incorporate your voice into the stories CNN is covering.

You can start right here by visiting our assignment desk.

Who knows? Next year at this time, we might be honoring you in the 4th Annual iReport Awards.

Posted by: dsashin // April 3, 2013
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Posted in: community, ireport_awards
Happy April Fools’ Day from iReport! »

For years we’ve talked about taking over the Assignment Desk on iReport for April Fools’ Day. This year, we finally decided to pull it off!


Our team spends a lot of time brainstorming to come up with strong assignments, so we decided to poke fun at ourselves by thinking about it the other way: How do we turn good assignments into bad ones?


Our peaceful takeover included silly assignments like: I have no story to share, your ugliest travel photos, average weather photos, ask this random guy a question and your embarrassing flaws.


While we got a chuckle out of the fake solicitations, we weren’t sure how the community would react. Funny enough, we got some real stories to our joke assignments. From the ugliest travel photos to your non-news stories, we were tickled by the anecdotes behind your stories.


iReporter Teresa Christensen sent in this photo of her then-teenaged sons on a stop in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The fact that their heads are cut off was no accident, she said. “We were in the Badlands! But they were so inconvenienced, their attitudes so impatient, and their faces had such dread and contempt that I figured the best shot would be from the shoulders down with the beautiful Badlands in the background.”


When I called iReporter Gabriel Dominise about his colorful sunrise photo on a cold day in Essex, United Kingdom, he had a lot of details about his non-story. The conversation that ensued was delightful:


“When I saw the stories about nothing to tell, I thought I have some pictures with no stories at all and I wanted to make use of those useless ones,” he said. Dominise explained he was standing on a cold platform waiting for a delayed train this winter when he captured this photo.


“It’s so gloomy and it looks like a sunset but it’s early morning.  It was like a dead picture,” he said.


When asked what he thought of our no-story assignment, he said, “I was not expecting an assignment that asks if you have nothing to share. It’s unique. It’s interesting.”


It became apparent that our tomfoolery had worked, so I let Dominise in on the secret. He laughed when he realized it was a playful prank.


As for the ask a random guy at CNN a question assignment, we got quite the response when we posted it to our Facebook account. CNN's Jarrett Bellini was so bored, he actually answered some of the questions you sent!


Q: What exactly do you do? and do you enjoy being "the most unimportant person" at CNN?
A: I occupy a desk and occasionally walk around the newsroom with my coffee mug as though I'm meeting with people who matter. Being the most unimportant person at CNN is great. I can nap under my desk and literally nothing changes.


Q: Do you know why there were so many dead fish on the beach of Fort Lauderdale?
A: If you finally swam all the way to shore and suddenly found yourself in South Florida you'd probably kill yourself, too.


Q: How you doin'?
A: I have a canker sore. Otherwise, fine.


So to all of you who took part in our fun day of lighthearted humor: Thank you! iReport wouldn’t be the passionate, fun-loving community without you. Happy April Fools’ Day!

Posted by:
// April 1, 2013
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Posted in: community
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