CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp wrap-up »

 

Well, iReporters, you did it! You've tackled seven boot camp topics – from photography to storytelling – and today we'll talk about the experience and what you'd like to learn next time.

 

Please join us here at 3:00 p.m. for our boot camp wrap-up discussion. Members of the CNN iReport team will be present to answer any questions you may have and offer feedback for those iReporters who participated in our storytelling challenge. For our final assignment, we challenged iReporters to report on a local landmark and you showed us a variety of places, including a civil war fort (pictured above), a beloved locomotive, and a sweet shop in Sri Lanka.

 

We really enjoyed being part of the boot camp experience and look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you’re new to the roundtable, here’s how it works: We’ll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your comments and questions below. Talk to you then!

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katie
// October 28, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week seven »

Please join us here today at 3:30 p.m. ET to discuss the final topic of our iReport boot camp: Storytelling.

 

We did things a little differently this week – instead of opening the iReport storytelling assignment ahead of the roundtable, we’ll start accepting submissions afterward. Today, we’re pleased to welcome CNN All-Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye, who knows exactly how important good storytelling is.

 

As an All-Platform Journalist, Sarah is responsible for producing every aspect of a story – she shoots photos and videos, writes stories for CNN.com and scripts for CNN TV, she edits video packages together, and even does occasional live shots on the air. In many senses, she’s like an iReporter: covering stories all on her own.

 

Sarah is here to answer your questions about how to tell a story from start to finish. This roundtable is also a great opportunity to share your story ideas with Sarah and ask any technical questions you might have. In the meantime, you can check out her expert storytelling tips from last week.

 

If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments for Sarah at the bottom of this post. Talk to you then!

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katie
// October 21, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week six »

Jan_Winburn

 

Please join us here in the blog at 3:30 p.m. ET to talk about story editing – the art and science of taking the facts, photos and colorful quotes you've gathered as a reporter and crafting them into a powerful story.

 

We're thrilled that CNN.com Enterprise Editor Jan Winburn will be joining us to answer your questions and give feedback on your work. Jan has guided reporting honored with many prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

 

It was also exciting to see the personal stories iReporters shared in this week's challenge. It's amazing how much you can learn about a person from a simple object, whether it's a girl's diary in Saudi Arabia, a hand-painted rock on a teacher's desk, a child's first camera, or even the look in a scary-looking strangers' eyes.

 

We hope you will join us for today's discussion, even if you didn't participate in this week's challenge. Jan has been a tremendous resource for us and has a lot of great advice. She's also a delight to work with, so it should be a lot of fun.

 

Comments will open at 3:30 p.m. ET. We look forward to talking with you then.

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davidw
// October 14, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week five »

 

Interviewing is the cornerstone of good journalism, and the stories you tell are only as good as the information you get. Knowing what questions to ask and how to conduct yourself in an interview are crucial for getting those juicy tidbits.

 

Today we’re honored to have two interviewing experts who will be fielding your questions and offering feedback:

 

Richard Quest is host of Quest Means Business and one of the most instantly recognizable anchors at CNN International. He’s covered a range of breaking news and business stories, as well as feature programming. Quest is firmly established as an expert on business travel issues and currently works as a CNN anchor and correspondent.

 

Jessica Ravitz was an award-winning newspaper journalist before coming to CNN.com, where she’s a writer/producer on the newsroom’s enterprise team and is often praised for her interviewing style. She’s interviewed people on their death beds, drawn out never-told-before stories from Holocaust survivors and given a platform to sexual assault victims.

 

Take a look at all the great interviewing tips we got from eight CNN anchors, correspondents and writers last week.

 

If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments at the bottom of this post.

 

We’re here to look at your videos, offer advice and answer any questions you may have about the art of interviewing. Excitement is in the air, so get ready!

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zdan
// October 7, 2010
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Posted in: community, boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week four »

Video is an integral part of how CNN tells stories to the world, and we challenged you this past week to profile a person on video working with their hands.

Today in the roundtable we have two experts who will be taking your questions:

Chris Hrubesh has worked for CNN for 22 years as a video editor, field audio recordist, photographer and producer. He has been to several war zones and covered the last four elections as well as dozens of severe weather events. Check out these photos of his career.

Merv Teo has worked for CNN for eight years and is an accomplished producer; field producer, segment producer, video editor, photographer, lighting and field engineering assistant. In his current role, Merv produces breaking news and original content on a daily basis for CNN.com.

For those who may have missed it, check out this story and accompanying videos for their tips (including tips by CNN legend Mark “Mad Dog” Biello) on how to shoot and edit the CNN way.

Come armed with your questions and we’ll see you today at 3 p.m. ET.

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hhanks
// September 30, 2010
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Posted in: community, boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week three »

 

Cars whooshing. Sirens blaring. Frogs croaking. Sounds instantly conjure up mental images and help set the scene of any scenario. They also help establish the pace for a production and fill in the ambiance. That's why good audio is so crucial to storytelling projects.

 

Welcome to the latest installment of the CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions, which will focus on collecting great audio in the field and the best ways to use it in your work.

 

We've already tackled photography and search engine optimization in our six-part series, and this week we'll continue our journey with CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum as a special guest.

 

Kastenbaum will join the roundtable chat to share his audio know-how and talk about some of the audio-only submissions we received as part of our audio guessing game, which was a challenge to use only sound to tell where you are. Take a listen and see if you can identify the sounds.

 

If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:00 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments at the bottom of this post.

 

You can participate in this discussion even if you didn't submit an audio clip. Take a look at this CNN.com story and slideshow, which conveniently package tips that Steve gave us. And, share your expertise and any great stories you've got from getting audio in the field. (Bonus points: Come prepared with great audio examples you've found.)

 

This session will be focused on the questions for Steve, so if you have any comments about CNN iReport, you can email them to me at nicole.saidi@turner.com.

 

Can't wait to get started with the roundtable!

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nsaidi
// September 23, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Boot camp week two »

SEO Word cloud

(Word cloud created with Wordle)

 

Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for part two our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions. We'll be talking about search engine optimization (SEO), which is a way of using keywords and other techniques to make your iReports more visible to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

 

CNN.com SEO Coordinator Topher Kohan will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on your submissions to our SEO refrigerator challenge. In case you're wondering "why refrigerators," we wanted to focus on something that was easy to find so you could focus on the SEO tips instead of on finding something to photograph.

 

You can be a part of the discussion, even if you didn't participate in the SEO challenge. Just check out Topher's tips and have your questions ready.

 

We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Topher so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at david.williams@turner.com.

 

If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments below.

 

We'll talk with you then.

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davidw
// September 16, 2010
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Posted in: boot_camp
CNN iReport roundtable: Special time and special guests »

 

Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for the first of our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions.

 

CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill and photographer Matthew Rond will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on the submissions to our photography challenge. You can be a part of the discussion even if you didn't get to participate in the photography assignment. Just check out Mark's tips and have your questions ready.

 

We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Mark and Matthew so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at david.williams@turner.com.

 

 

 

 

 

We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and look forward to talking to you then.

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davidw
// September 9, 2010
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Posted in: community, boot_camp
CNN iReport Boot Camp »

Calling all iReporters! Want to improve your journalistic and technical skills? You've come to the right place. You've been asking for it, and now it's here: iReport boot camp!

 

We're cramming a j-school overview into eight short weeks. Each week we'll cover a different topic, from photography to interviewing to editing. And the coolest part? You'll get tips and live, one-on-one feedback from specially selected CNN experts in each area.

 

How does it work?

Here's the plan: Starting September 3, we'll launch a new topic every Friday. We'll publish tips from CNN experts on the topic and open up that week's iReport assignment, which is designed to help you stretch your skills in that particular area. You'll have several days to complete the assignment, and your submissions will then be evaluated by our CNN experts. The following Thursday, our experts will participate in a live roundtable discussion with you right here on our blog. They'll offer feedback on your work, answer questions, and share additional thoughts and suggestions. Finally, at the end of it all, we'll bake all your work and the experts' feedback into a series of fun and informational videos that you'll have as a resource for the future.

 

How can I participate?

There's no need to sign up -- just take note of when the topics you're interested in will be taking place and be sure to submit to those assignments and then come to the roundtable for feedback. You'll get the most out of boot camp if you participate every week because you'll be able to build on your skills, but if you're only interested in one or two topics, that's totally fine too!

 

What are the topics? And what's the schedule?

Glad you asked! You can always check the boot camp launch page to find out the week's topic and assignment, but for those of you who like to plan ahead, here's how it's going to go:

 

Week 1 - Photography: Launches Sept. 3, roundtable Sept. 9 at 3:30 pm E.T.

Week 2 - Getting it seen: Launches Sept. 10, roundtable Sept. 16 at 3:00 pm E.T.

Week 3 - Sound: Launches Sept. 17, roundtable Sept. 23

Week 4 - Video: Launches Sept. 24, roundtable Sept. 30

Week 5 - Interviewing: Launches Oct. 1, rountable Oct. 7

Week 6 - Editing: Launches Oct. 8, roundtable Oct. 14

Week 7 - Storytelling: Launches Oct. 15, roundtable Oct. 21

 

We'll announce specific times for the roundtable discussions as we get closer to the actual dates.


Who are the experts?

CNN's best and brightest. From CNN.com's Jan Winburn, who has a Pulitzer Prize in editing, to CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill, we've recruited the best in the business to help you sharpen your skills. We can't tell you all the names right now (you know how unpredictable journalists' schedules are, and there may be some surprises), but rest assured: These guys are good.

 

Well? What are you waiting for? On September 3, get started with our first challenge: Photography. You can find tips and tricks from CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill here, and try your hand at our "wide, medium, tight" photography assignment here. Don't forget to come back to the iReport blog (yep, right here) on September 9 at 3:30 pm E.T. to get live feedback on your work from Mark and his staff. Good luck!

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rachel8
// September 2, 2010
 16 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp, stories, community
Your iReports, our tips: #7 »

When it comes to scoring all-access interviews with celebrities, ChrisMorrow is a star. This week she landed an interview with music duo Hall and Oates and asked them about their guilty pleasures.

 

The stars' candid responses made the video a smashing success – it earned more than 21,000 views on iReport. ChrisMorrow also interviewed a motley crew of other stars, asking them about their embarrassing tastes in music, TV shows and junk food.

 

While ChrisMorrow is a veteran iReporter, she appreciated hearing some feedback. Placing the best material at the beginning of video and editing to isolate the best sound bites would have made for a more powerful, organized package. Hall and Oates’ fame, along with their witty comment about being “very pure people” who don’t Twitter, would have made for an attention-grabbing start.

 

One more tip: Record better quality audio with a microphone. When filming at crowded events, a microphone would cut out the extraneous noises. ChrisMorrow told me that she’s been thinking of purchasing a wireless mic, but her camera isn’t compatible. A newer camera and mic would be an investment for the future.

 

Keep up the great interviews and video work, Chris! See you later with more tips.

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zdan
// June 12, 2009
 13 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
Your iReports, our tips: #6 »

I had the pleasure of calling Iceland today and chatting it up with ander , who’s been covering Iceland’s collapsed economy. Last weekend he filmed a protest in his hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

ander shot a variety of footage to illustrate the story behind the protest. An Icelandic rock star sang to the crowds and one man started planting potatoes, right in front of the Parliament! The potato planter was trying to make a point: If the Icelandic government wasn’t going to help him, he would help himself, ander said.

 

 

But, even veteran iReporters like ander enjoy receiving feedback on their stories. Getting on camera and narrating this video would have given readers more context as to what was going on. Most of us don’t speak Icelandic, so ander suggested writing subtitles in English next time!

 

One more tip for ander: Speak with some of the protesters and find out their stories. We’re always looking for the personal story behind the larger one.

 

Great work brining this story into the international spotlight, ander! See everyone later with more tips.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// May 29, 2009
 11 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
Your iReports, our tips: #5 »

Photography is a cornerstone of great journalism, and it’s something I’m passionate about. So, this week I wanted to give iReportland some tips for taking superb snapshots.

Rule of thirds
Before you put the subject smack-dab in the middle of the frame, stop yourself. Imagine the frame is split up into three equal parts, both vertically and horizontally. Try to place the subject in one-third of the frame. The photo will have a compelling composition because the subject will have room to move out of the frame.

 

 

 

 

 

Frame elements
Take a look at the photo to the left because it’s a good example of framing. Try to snap photos that have foreground elements, like these tree branches, to create a frame around the subject. This adds depth, and it makes for pretty pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take lots of pictures
My photojournalism professor taught me a valuable lesson: Take as many photos as you can. The more frames you take, the better the chance that you’ll come up with something you like. Once you leave the scene or the event is over, that’s it. It’s better to have more photos to work with than not enough.

 

Here's a challenge: Pick up that camera and start practicing these tricks!

Posted by:
 
zdan
// May 9, 2009
 8 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
Your iReports, our tips: #4 »

 

From time to time we see iReporters using advanced video techniques, like time-lapse photography. Taking photographs at a constant interval shows us gradual changes in a novel way.

 

iReporter craezer captured a Seattle sunset over a 4.5-hour period using this technique. He set up his Canon digital SLR with an intervalometer, which tells the camera to take a photo at constant intervals. The camera was set to fire once every three seconds, giving craezer more than 4,000 images!

 

I learned a lot about time-lapse from my conversation with craezer. Photography and time-lapse are hobbies of his. He said the trickiest part of the process was the changing light. The transition from day to evening provides an added challenge because you have to adjust the exposure settings.

 

As we learned from each other, the biggest tip I gave craezer was to speed up his video. In TV land, two minutes is a long clip. An easy remedy would be to use video-editing software – Final Cut or Adobe Premiere – to speed up the frame rate. Voila, the clouds will soar faster and night will descend quicker.

 

And, for those who want a bigger challenge, you can capture the same scene with multiple cameras set up at different angles. For the record, craezer is experimenting with this idea.

 

Excellent work, craezer! Thanks for teaching me a thing or two as well. See you next week with more tips.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// May 1, 2009
 8 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
Your iReports, our tips: #3 »

When it comes to making video commentaries, gr8telephant always has a lot to say. This week he wasn’t afraid to tell us where he stood in the Perez Hilton/Miss California spat. He sided with Miss California , who does not support gay marriage, saying she should be applauded for her honesty.

 

Beyond stating his thoughts, gr8telephant explained why he felt this way. If people are free to voice their support of gay marriage, then people can say they support traditional marriage, he argued.

 

 

What could have taken this iReport to the next level? Record a shorter commentary. Forty seconds is perfect, and if you’ve got a little more to say, don’t go over a minute. The longer you talk, the greater the chance you’ll wind up repeating yourself. Short, succinct videos have the best shot of getting used on CNN.

 

When he started talking, it took him about 30 seconds to get to the main point. Trimming background information would have given gr8telephant more time to develop his argument.

 

Great job telling us what you think gr8telephant! See you next week with more tips.

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zdan
// April 24, 2009
 9 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp
Your iReports, our tips: #2 »

iReporter Liberty1955 made an astute observation and did his homework when it came to his iReport about increasing food costs . He compared the prices of the same items over a couple weeks. His video was chock full of examples proving his point. The cost of creamer went up 20 cents. A pack of sausage links cost 40 cents more.

 

Not only did Liberty1955 report on the hard facts, but he also showed us what he was talking about. As he talked about each item, he showed it on camera. The audio matched the visual elements. Hallelujah!

 

But, there's always room for improvement. The next step would be to describe how this trend has affected you. How much more a week are you spending on groceries? Have you had to cut back on something else? We are always looking for your personal story!

 

And one more tip for Liberty1955: Get on camera to talk about the personal impact of the story. Seeing your face as you talk is more powerful than just hearing a voice coming from off the set.

 

Keep up the good work Liberty1955, and we'll see you next week with another tip.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// April 18, 2009
 17 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: boot_camp

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