Meet Shaniece, our fall intern! »

Intern Shaniece has made friends with iReport mascot Pendleton the penguin.

 

We're excited to introduce you to a new member of the iReport crew. Please welcome Shaniece Mason!

 

Shaniece has only been here for one week, but she’s already using her wit to dream up creative iReport projects. Turns out, she’s pretty funny too. We asked her to write a little bit about herself and the resulting bio was pretty epic:

 

Hello! I'm Shaniece and I'm very excited to be joining the iReport team this fall! I've been dreaming of working at CNN since the first time I saw Larry King's spiffy suspenders. Look Ma, I made it! Currently, I'm a senior majoring in Journalism and minoring in Theater and Sociology at Georgia State University. GSU is the best school in the country and if you say otherwise, we can have a discussion about it.

 

I'm a self-proclaimed news addict. If I can watch it, read it and follow it on Twitter, I'm all over it. My hobbies include posting pictures of my meals on Instagram, starring as many songs as possible on Spotify and getting addicted to television shows that get canceled after one season. I hope to bring my millennial insight and love for journalism to this amazing iReport team. I'm excited to learn all I can from this amazing opportunity and strengthen my skills as a journalist!

 

Please say hello to Shaniece in the comments below! We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team.

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zdan
// September 26, 2014
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Shoot like a pro: 5 common photo mistakes to avoid »

Editor’s note: This blog post was written by Talia Day, CNN iReport’s summer 2014 intern. Day, who curated our Travel Photo of the Day gallery throughout her internship, shared some of her top photography tips with the iReport community.

You don't need an expensive camera or years of training to capture a stunning image. The best photos require a good eye for visual storytelling and the patience to wait for the right moment.

If you are like many CNN iReporters, your overall aim is to get your photos, videos and stories on CNN. That tiny red icon isn't simply for show, it means your content meets CNN’s standards – and that’s something to be proud of!

To help you make the cut, we've written a list of five common problems that may prevent your images from being verified by CNN, as well as some general photography tips.

1. Over or underexposed images

Even a well-composed image can be ruined if it's improperly exposed. Exposure refers to the amount of light your camera uses to render an image.

If the camera's sensor is exposed to too much light, an image will be overexposed. That means your photo will appear too bright and lose some detail.

To avoid this pitfall, don't face the sun while you're shooting and, if you can, avoid shooting against bright backgrounds.

If the sensor isn't exposed to enough light, an image will be underexposed. Similar to an overexposed photo, important detail will be lost. This time, though, your image will appear too dark.

To save yourself the headache, make sure that you are in a well-lit area and utilize your camera’s flash component in low-light situations.

The easiest way to avoid both scenarios is to make sure you are shooting in the best possible light with the best possible camera settings. For more advanced users, check your f-stop, ISO and shutter speed to adjust for each lighting condition.

2. Bad composition

A poorly composed photo can leave the viewer uninterested and sometimes confused. Having a subject that’s too far away or cropping the photo too much can hurt the photo’s composition.

When the subject is too far away, the audience can get distracted by having too many objects to focus on. There’s no clear focal point of the image.

Often times we may resort to cropping an image to get closer. This quick fix can severely affect the quality of your photo by cutting down its resolution or leaving out important details, like the surrounding location.

The best way to zoom in is with your feet – get close to the subject! If you have the resources, invest in a telephoto or zoom lens that allows you to get closer without leaving your position. Also, remember that photos and videos with horizontal or landscape orientations are used more frequently by CNN and have a higher chance of being featured.

3. Overediting and compositing

With the advent of software like Adobe Photoshop, photographers have been given a new range of tools to enhance and correct their photos. Because we’re looking for newsworthy images, we encourage photos that are as true to real life as possible. Here are some examples of overediting:

Too much saturation

We all love colorful photos, but oversaturation distorts reality and therefore alters an image beyond the truth. If skin tones appear to be orange in hue or certain colors are hard to look at, you’ve done too much.

Too much contrast

When an image is slightly overexposed, it is natural to want to add in more contrast, but too much contrast can distort the image and affect its color and brightness. A photo that has been overedited may have colors that appear to be vibrating or a halo effect where shadows and highlights meet.

Compositing

Removing or adding details to a photo that were not originally there is a form of compositing. We generally discourage images that are composites. The rare exception is some astrophotography, which we’re careful to tell viewers how the composite was created.

If you do make edits, please keep them to these basic changes: simple color correction, slight adjustments in brightness/contrast, minimal changes to exposure and some cropping.

4. Blurriness and low resolution

If your image is verified by CNN, it could be used both on-air and online. Please upload images at the highest resolution possible so they appear clear and crisp.

Images uploaded to CNN iReport should always be in focus. Checking your focus in camera and avoiding abrupt movement while shooting can ensure you capture a clear image. Even smartphones have auto-focus features that you can use – just tap and hold the part of the image you want to focus on.

5. Watermarks

In the age of the Internet, many photographers feel they should take special measures to protect their work. One way to ensure that you are credited is watermarking; this process involves superimposing text over a photograph as an identifier.

Watermarks are great tools when posting your images online, but can become more of an obstruction if done improperly.

A bad watermark is fairly large, created using an odd font/color and placed on top of relevant subjects in a photo.

The iReport team will always credit your images, whether online or on TV, so watermarking your image is not necessary.

If you are interested in having your work verified by CNN, it is best to upload images without a watermark. If you do watermark an image, be prepared to send us the original file so we can verify it.

By following the photography tips above and making sure your photos match our ethical standards, you’re one step closer to having your images verified by CNN. Our storytelling is only as good as the content you send. Go forth and capture the world!

Posted by:
 
taliaday
// August 8, 2014
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Instagram and iReport just got a little closer »

 

It's easier than ever to share your images with CNN, simply by tagging #cnnireport on Instagram.

 

We joined Instagram in 2011, and since then, thousands of you have shared incredible photos and videos using #cnnireport. Now, we’re able to automatically highlight some of the best directly on iReport.com. The images will appear under the IGiReports account, along with the Instagram user’s username and caption. And of course, the cream of the crop have a good chance at being featured on CNN.

 

What kind of content are we looking for? Whether you’ve got a newsworthy photo of a wildfire, a portrait of what life is like in an indigenous tribe or a stunning travel photo, we’d like to see it. Follow @cnnireport on Instagram to see what other types of photos and videos we showcase on our feed.

 

If you've like a chance of being featured, tag your photos #cnnireport on Instagram. Please keep an eye on your feed when you tag us, as we might comment with some questions for you!

 

This is just one of the many ways you can upload your stories to iReport. (You can read all of the ways here.) If you have suggestions on other ways you would like to be able to share your stories, please

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zdan
// June 25, 2014
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Meet Talia, our summer intern! »

 

We're thrilled to introduce you to a new member of the iReport crew. Please welcome iReporter turned summer intern extraordinaire, Talia Day!

 

Talia shadowed our team twice during her other CNN internships and we’re happy to finally have her working alongside us this summer. We asked her to write a little bit about herself, so without further ado, we turn it over to her:

 

Hello! I’m Talia, a Savannah College of Art and Design student majoring in Television Producing and the new 2014 summer intern for CNN iReport. I have a passion for storytelling and an interest in all things digital, which is why I am super excited to be joining the iReport team!

 

Before coming to CNN, I worked as a freelancer for film/television and have had the privilege of traveling around the world. I’ve always been curious about different cultures and I almost always carry my camera (you never know when news will happen). My first love is documentary filmmaking and I am currently working to finish my latest film “Facing Freedom.” I know I will learn a lot from the iReport team and hope to become a vital part of the CNN iReport community. This is my third internship with CNN and I hope it’s the beginning of a long career with the network.

 

Say hello to Talia in the comments below! We’re excited to have her as part of the team.

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zdan
// June 6, 2014
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A new chapter for CNN iReport »

We're in the midst of an exciting time here at CNN iReport. Last year we discovered the power of the personal essay, with countless compelling stories written by you, our talented community; we produced more iReport content for CNN Digital than ever before, including in-depth investigative stories that you first alerted us to; and we experimented with new methods of real-time audience interaction, including Google Hangouts on a variety of fascinating topics.

 

Of course, with growth comes change. After many discussions and careful consideration, we've decided to not host the CNN iReport Awards this year. We launched the Awards back in 2011 as a way to celebrate citizen journalism and honor our community's contributions. Since that time, we have honored dozens of impressive iReporters and have shown the world that iReport encompasses not only breaking news, but also commentary, interviews, personal stories, photo essays, original reporting, and in-depth storytelling.

 

The iReport Awards have been a labor of love over the years. Not hosting the Awards this year will allow our small but mighty team to produce even more compelling stories and fun projects with our community; to stay on top of the latest news and trends; and, most importantly, to work towards exciting and much-needed technical improvements to the site. We’ve got some exciting stuff planned for the year ahead, and look forward to sharing it with you all.

 

Thank you to all of you who are members of the amazing iReport community, and congratulations again to all of our past Awards recipients and nominees.  You have helped build a worldwide network of creative, curious and smart people who have shown time and again that news stories affect all of us. We are so excited to continue sharing and telling your stories, in bigger and better ways than ever before.

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katie
// March 3, 2014
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Meet Maggie, our spring intern »

 

We’re excited to introduce you to a new member of the iReport crew! Our spring intern, Maggie Blaha, left snowy New Jersey for sunny Atlanta, or so she thought.

 

During this week’s rare snow and ice, Maggie has already been busy contributing to our breaking news coverage. We asked her to write a little bit about herself now that things are thawing out. iReport community, meet Maggie:

 

Hi! I'm Maggie, and I'm very excited to be joining the iReport Team this spring. I am a graduate student in Concordia University's Master of International Studies program, and I have completed most of my coursework in China. Living in China was an eye-opening experience but not one I would care to relive. It did give me a lot to write about, though.

 

I guess I could best be described as a romantic hipster. I like being poor and traveling and doing what I want. I'm one of those people who thinks she was born in the wrong decade, which explains my distaste for ebooks, love of record players and unhealthy obsession with “Downton Abbey.” I have my heart set on becoming a journalist and am looking forward to learning all I can from Team iReport.

 

Say hello to Maggie in the comments below! We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team.

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zdan
// January 31, 2014
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Team iReport remembers Rick Huffman »

 

 

It's with heavy hearts that we share the news that Rick Huffman, a CNN iReport Award recipient and longtime contributor, died on Sunday, in St. Joseph, Michigan. He was 64.

 

Many of you knew him as Logan248, the ex-military ex-law enforcement iReporter who wasn’t afraid to share his views on the issues of the day, and discussed everything under the sun with his friends in the iReport community.

 

Back in May, Huffman received an iReport Award for a video he filmed about a year ago, in response to the deadly shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. A longtime NRA member, he cut up his card on camera in tribute to those lost.

 

Huffman also actively posted commentary during the 2012 presidential campaign, taking part in that year’s iReport Debate.

 

Unfortunately, Huffman informed us in October that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and didn’t have much longer to live. According to The Herald-Palladium, he passed away at home on December 1, with his wife by his side.

 

Team iReport extends our thoughts and condolences to Huffman’s friends and family, and to those of you who knew him in the iReport community. Thank you for all you contributed to iReport, Rick. You'll be greatly missed.

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// December 4, 2013
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Posted in: community
Team iReport is looking for a summer 2014 intern »

 

Calling all young, eager journalists! Are you a college student who’s been dreaming of working at CNN iReport? You’re in luck. We’re looking for an intern to join our team at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer.

 

This full-time, paid experience lasts about 12 weeks, from early June to the beginning of August, and is open to college students currently enrolled in school. Course credit is available, and preference is given to students who have previously contributed to CNN iReport.

 

The CNN iReport intern is a valuable member of our editorial team. In addition to vetting iReports, writing stories, producing galleries, and joining in brainstorming and editorial planning, interns will also have the opportunity to learn from a host of CNN professionals in various departments.

 

Sound exciting? Click here for more details and to formally apply. The deadline for applications is Monday, January 6.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// November 27, 2013
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Meet Cydney, our fall intern »

 

We’ve got a new face on the iReport team! Cydney Fisher is our fall intern and we’re delighted to have her working with us.

 

Cydney joined the site in 2012 and has been an active iReporter since then. We asked her to pen a short bio introducing herself to the community:

 

I am a senior majoring in Comparative Women’s Studies at Spelman College. Finding the journalism world quite intriguing, I am soaking up all I can to prepare myself for a career in journalism. I try to be a versatile one-woman journalist, and have delved into anchoring and reporting as well as some behind the scenes work as a cinematographer for the local student run station, Tiger Television, at Morehouse College, our brother school next door.

 

But, my real passion is photography. I currently serve as the photography editor for the Maroon Tiger Newspaper at Morehouse College, and I’m the only student photographer for the Office of Student Life. Previously, I was a photography fellow for non-profit organization Outdoor Nation. In my free time, I have made it my mission to document the world around me with my camera. I am super excited to be an iReport intern, and am eager to learn as much as I can about all things CNN.

 

Be sure to say hello to Cydney! If you’re lucky, you may just get a call from her asking about your iReport.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// October 1, 2013
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Team iReport is looking for a spring 2014 intern  »

Are you a college student waiting to dive into the world of CNN iReport? Today’s your lucky day. We’re looking for an intern to join our team at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this spring.

This full-time, paid experience lasts about 12 weeks, from late January to early April, and is open to college students currently enrolled in school. Course credit is available, and preference is given to students who have previously contributed to CNN iReport.

The CNN iReport intern is a valuable member of our editorial team. In addition to vetting iReports, writing stories, producing galleries, and joining in brainstorming and editorial planning, interns will also have the opportunity to learn from a host of CNN professionals in various departments.

Sound like your dream job? Click here for more details and to formally apply. The deadline for applications is Sunday, October 27.

Posted by:
 
Jareen
// September 27, 2013
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Roundtable: Everyday racism »

To mark the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we hosted a Google Hangout last Thursday to discuss race relations in America. We were delighted to have diversity consultant and veteran iReporter Omekongo Dibinga and Brown University Professor of Africana Studies Tricia Rose join us for what was a frank and enlightening discussion.

 

 

The video chat was part of our Everyday Racism project. You can check out the full interactive and explore the hundreds of submissions we received.

 

Thank you to all of you who shared personal stories and asked great questions during the Google Hangout. For those who weren’t able to catch the live roundtable, we encourage you to watch the video below and post your comments here on the blog. We look forward to keeping the conversation going.

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// September 5, 2013
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Roundtable: Verifying user-generated content »

Have you ever wondered how CNN verifies the constant flow of information, images and video on social media and iReport to get them on air and online? If so, you’re in luck.

In our August roundtable, CNN iReport’s senior producer, Katie Hawkins-Gaar and CNN Digital News editor Justin Lear discuss how CNN sorts through what’s real and what’s not -- including the back story on one of the most incredible iReports of 2012.

How can you tell if a photo is real or manipulated? What technology is used to determine authenticity? What kind of questions do we ask during the vetting process? We cover all of these topics and more. Watch the video below.

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// August 6, 2013
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How to get a CNN byline: We're taking your questions! »

 

[Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET] Thanks for coming to the hangout! Here's the archives of the discussion. Thanks to all who participated, especially Jack Barr and Jan Winburn.

Ever wanted to write for CNN? Richard Lucas has. He wrote a personal essay about his battle with anxiety.

 

Tracy Scarpulla has too. She wrote about her changing views on gun control.

 

Both Lucas and Scarpulla’s stories started off as iReports, and soon their essays were run on CNN.com with a byline.

 

If you’ve always wanted to know what it takes to write for CNN, this is your chance - you can post essays to our assignment!

 

We’ll be holding a Google Hangout on Tuesday, July 16 at 3 p.m. ET with CNN Digital Enterprise Editor Jan Winburn, and a special guest iReporter.

 

What separates personal essays from other writing? What do all of the iReport essays published so far have in common, and what does CNN look for in a writer? Find out Tuesday.

 

Winburn will be sharing a few tips on what CNN is looking for in personal essays, and as always, we’ll be taking your questions. Post them here on the blog, or you can tweet us your question using "#cnnessays."

 

We hope you’ll join us on Tuesday! Once again, click here at the appointed time to watch.

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// July 9, 2013
 34 comments // Add a comment
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Team iReport is looking for a fall 2013 intern »

Calling all young, aspiring journalists! Are you a college student hungry for a piece of CNN iReport pie? You’re in luck because we’re looking for one lucky intern to join our team at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, this fall.

 

This full-time, paid experience lasts about 12 weeks and is open to college students currently enrolled in school. Course credit is available, and preference is given to students who have previously contributed to CNN iReport.

 

The CNN iReport intern is a valuable member of our editorial team. In addition to vetting iReports, writing stories, producing galleries, and joining in brainstorming and editorial planning, interns will also have the opportunity to learn from a host of CNN professionals in various departments.

 

Sound exciting? Click here for more details and to formally apply. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 19.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// July 3, 2013
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Posted in: community
Meet Julia! Our summer intern »

 

Hooray! There is a fresh face on team iReport! Our summer intern, Julia Carpenter, joined us a few days ago and she is already vetting breaking news stories and creating topical assignments. We are clearly keeping her busy.

Amidst all the work, we asked Julia to write a little bit about herself. She's got an impressive background and we wanted her to share a bit about herself with the rest of the community:

Hi, I'm Julia. I'm an English and journalism student at the University of Georgia and will be graduating from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in December.

I've reported on sexual harassment scandals, reviewed Dorito's tacos (they were "sad and sandy"), Storified local elections and interviewed the guy behind the New York Times haiku.

Prior to iReport, I worked at Esquire.com, ELLE magazine and The New York Daily News. Also, I worked at The Red & Black, my college newspaper.

Last month, I traveled through Japan with the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition and am now a hopeless sushi snob. My perfect Saturday involves at least three of the following: friends, family, Diet Coke and Atlanta Braves baseball. I'm looking forward to working with the iReport community and connecting with its members on Twitter and Tumblr.

Say hello to Julia in the comments below! We're excited to welcome her to the team.

Posted by:
 
Jareen
// June 7, 2013
 26 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community

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