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 CNN.com.


Breaking News


Original Reporting


Compelling Imagery




Personal Story


In-Depth Storytelling

Posted by: dsashin // April 22, 2013
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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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The iReport Awards weekend is here! »

CNN Center



The first-ever iReport Awards weekend kicks off Friday and we are really excited to welcome iReporters from all over to CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.


The weekend is going to be packed with hands-on seminars, panel discussions with CNN staffers and industry leaders, and, of course, the CNN iReport Awards ceremony.


We want the entire iReport community to be a part of the experience, even though it would be impossible to have everyone here in person. We will be blogging all weekend, streaming live video of the sessions, and sharing real-time social media updates from the iReport Awards. You can keep up with all of the buzz by following the hashtag #iReportAwards on Instagram and Twitter.


On Twitter, you can also follow our iReport Awards list.


We'll post links to the live video stream on Saturday, but here's the schedule so you'll know when to watch.


10:15 a.m. ET -- Smartphones – Smart storytelling, led by Victor Hernandez


11 a.m. ET -- Creating Powerful Photographic Narratives, with Turner photographers Barbara Griffin, Michael Kochman, David Holloway and Shana Darnell


1:30 p.m. ET -- Vimeo Video School, led by Vimeo’s Andrea Allen and CNN’s Brandon Ancil


2:45 p.m. ET -- Telling Stories, Telling Truths, with CNN’s Jan Winburn, Moni Basu and John Sutter


And be sure to join us on Thurdsay, June 28, for a special edition of our iReport roundtable. We will be talking about everything we learned over the weekend.

Posted by:
// June 21, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Have you voted today? »


There's one week left to vote for the Community Choice recipient in the CNN iReport Awards, so check out the nominees and make your pick.


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, Interview and Personal Story.


The Community Choice Award recognizes the story that resonates with you, the iReport Community. Your votes will determine the recipient. You can vote once every 24 hours until Monday, June 11th.


We will announce the recipient on June 23 at the iReport Awards weekend.

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// June 4, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Personal stories »


Editor's note: The iReport Awards recognize the best in participatory journalism from around the iReport community. You can see the nominees in all of the categories and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


iReporters share personal stories with CNN - and the world - every day. Their courage, openness and honesty add a personal dimension to often-difficult issues.


The nominees in the Personal Story category of the iReport Awards shared an intimate look into their lives as well as a unique perspective into the news:


Son’s tribute to a fallen soldier


Braydon Nichols' father, Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols, was one of 30 American troops killed last August when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. The 10-year-old boy said that he had seen pictures of other troops killed in the crash and asked CNN to please include a photo of his dad.


Braydon’s tribute to his father inspired a tremendous response from the iReport community. Readers have left hundreds of comments over the past nine months offering encouragement and praising him for his courage and his family’s sacrifice.


From blind vision to beyond sight



Kurt Weston is a legally blind photographer who has been living with HIV/AIDs for decades. Weston suffered a number of AIDS-related illnesses, including the condition that took his sight.


He says anti-retroviral medications saved his life and enabled him to focus on his art career.  Weston says he believes in the healing power of art and that his work is about appreciating life.


Family finishes 3-year, 17,500 mile bike trip


John and Nancy Sathre-Vogel took their twin sons Davy and Daryl on a bike ride from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the southern tip of Argentina. They documented much of their trip on iReport.


Nancy Sathre-Vogel said they wanted to go on this 14-country adventure before their teenage sons were too old to want to travel with their parents.


Challenger disaster inspires NASA painting


David Wesley Jarvis was watching from his balcony in Cocoa Beach, Florida, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after liftoff in 1986. Jarvis says that memory inspired him when he was chosen to create artwork to commemorate the 1990 launch of space shuttle Columbia.


Jarvis’ iReport showed how the Challenger disaster and his admiration for the space program influenced him as an artist.


My Tunisian story


Tunisian student Meriem Ben Salah was in graduate school in California when revolution broke out in her home country. She watched from afar as the Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia and shared her frustration with the government and her fear for friends and family at home.


She said the corruption in her country made many people ashamed to admit they were Tunisian, but said that she was very proud of her country now.


Advice from my dad


Michael Cohen shared the difficult and often conflicting emotions he has experienced while dealing with his father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. He says the disease has made his 80-year-old father irrational and paranoid.


Cohen painted this portrait as a tribute to his father’s Spanish heritage and expressed his admiration for his dad’s legacy as a hard worker and a father.


Which story would you pick? You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// May 23, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Breaking News »


Breaking news is a vital part of CNN iReport's mission. iReporters are often among the first people on the scene of a major news event – either as witnesses or participants in the story.


The iReporters nominated in the Breaking News category contributed to the depth and impact of CNN's coverage by giving a firsthand view of the situation:


Egyptian forces fire tear gas on bridge


Heather Wiley and her father George watched the Arab Spring unfold in Egypt from their hotel window. They were filming as a huge crowd of demonstrators marched across Cairo's Kasr Al Nile Bridge on the way to Tahrir Square.


Even from a distance, you could hear the crowds cheering and the pop of tear gas canisters that retreating Egyptian authorities fired into the crowd.


Arrested as a photographer


Awards protest


iReporter Jay Sansone was photographing the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York when demonstrators clashed with police.


Sansone said the scene in Zuccotti Park was a nightmare, with thousands of people scattering in all directions. His photos captured the drama of the confrontation and the powerful emotions he felt as the chaotic scene swirled around him.


Disaster hits Joplin, Missouri


Joplin aftermath


Miguel Olave traveled with a missionary group to Joplin, Missouri, to help residents clean up after the devastating May 22, 2011, tornado.


Olave said that every time he went to a disaster area, he "would get chills … my hairs would stand up." He says that his dramatic photos only captured a glimpse of the devastation.


Indiana State Fair stage collapse


Jessica Silas was waiting for the popular country group Sugarland to perform when a storm kicked up powerful winds at the Indiana State Fairground. Silas decided to shoot video of the storm, and was filming when the stage collapsed.


You can hear screams as people in the crowd realized what happened. The video shows people near the stage rushing to rescue people trapped under the debris.

Japan earthquake



Ryan McDonald was in his apartment in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, when the March 11, 2011, earthquake struck the region. The 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that ravaged coastal areas and caused a nuclear disaster.


McDonald described what he was experiencing as he shot shaky video of the quake. You can hear the fear in his voice as he realizes just how bad the quake was.


Quechee covered bridge


James E. Miller said he had no idea how badly Hurricane Irene had hit Quechee, Vermont, until he walked down to Main Street and saw the river washing away the town's covered bridge.  Miller said the river normally flows 20 or 30 feet below the bridge.


Which story would you pick? You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// May 22, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Interviews »

Interviewing is one of the most important elements of a good story. Getting someone to agree to talk can be a challenge -- and that's just the beginning. Reporters also have to ask smart questions and react quickly to the answers.


The iReporters nominated in the Interview category talked with the famous, the infamous, close family and complete strangers and came away with unique insights into their lives:


Wisconsin protests



Jason Seher went to the Wisconsin State Capitol in February and talked with workers protesting Gov. Scott Walker's plan to limit state workers' collective bargaining rights.


Seher described the rally as 'peaceful mayhem' and his interviews captured the protesters' passion. At one point, a woman burst into tears when she talked about how the legislation would affect her children.


Michelle "Bombshell" McGee


San Diego iReporter Chris Morrow sat down with pinup model Michelle "Bombshell" McGee in January, a few months after she gained notoriety for her affair with celebrity motorcycle builder Jesse James. James was married to Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock at the time and the couple split up after the affair went public.


McGee talked at length about her relationship with James, how she felt about Bullock and how her children dealt with the scandal.


Muslim blood drive on 9/11


Ahmd Chaudhry said he was impressed by people's reaction to the Muslims for Life blood drive on the tenth 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks [add comma] so he decided to interview them.


Chaudry's interview  showed how Muslim Americans were feeling on the 9/11 anniversary, as well as how non-Muslims reacted to the gesture.


Tim Gunn on 'Star Trek' fashion


Fashion guru and "Project Runway" star Tim Gunn weighed in on wardrobe choices aboard the starship Enterprise in this interview with iReporter Alan Kistler. Gunn said most of the space fashions on the show looked like today's workout clothers.


He also pointed out that Lt. Uhuru and other female crew members' short dresses and boots weren't really appropriate for combat, or sitting down. Kistler's interview generated a conversation on style and gender.


My Aunt Dovie is 100 years old


Rebecca Nava sat down with her Aunt Dovie on the day before her 100th birthday. She talked to her aunt about her daily routine, which involved drinking lots of coffee,  cleaning her house from floor to ceiling and doing yard work.


Nava said she did the interview because she said she wanted everyone to know how amazing her aunt is.


Tiananmen student leader on revolution


iReporter Neal Moore interviewed Chinese dissident Wu'erkaixi, one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He fled the country after the government cracked down on the protests and has been living in exile ever since.


Wu'erkaixi  shared his unique perspective on the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East, as well as democracy efforts in China


You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// May 18, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Compelling Imagery »

Editor's note: The iReport Awards recognize the best in participatory journalism from around the iReport community. You can see the nominees in all of the categories and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


The best images grab you and tell a story on their own. It takes creativity and skill to pair images in a way that tells a powerful narrative.


The iReports nominated in the Compelling Imagery category are all very different.


Some are heartbreaking, others are dramatic and some are whimsical and fun, but each used captivating imagery to deliver their messages:


Hundreds live on one-acre island



During a mission trip in Uganda, Charity Deane visited the island of Makusa in Lake Victory and documented the challenging conditions the villagers face. The one-acre island is home to more than 400 people. The villagers live in tiny huts with no electricity or running water.


Deane’s iReport shares a glimpse of everyday life in a place that most viewers are unlikely to ever see.


Dubai time-lapse



Richard James Bentley’s time-lapse view of Dubai captures the frantic, go-go energy of the ultramodern city. Cars zipped between skyscrapers, fountains danced and boats raced through the water.


He also filmed jellyfish and other aquatic creatures floating along at their own pace.


Occupy Wall Street: Day 23


Fourteen-year-old twins Anna Otto and her sister Rachel convinced their father to take them to New York so that they could be a part of the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall. The sisters shot video from the protests and Anna edited it into this energetic video.

The video has intensity, condensing many scenes from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park into a story that gives a sense of what it was like to be at the protest.


Are you okay with human slavery?



Renee Hong used animation techniques to draw attention to the problem of human slavery for an art project last summer, and shared this video for cnn.com/freedom. Footage of a person sewing, a woman putting on make-up, and someone standing in a field, take on a sinister feel when overlayed combined with startling facts information about forced labor, prostitution and child soldiers.


Hong’s video gives the horrifying statistics about human slavery even more emotional power.


Catman of Key West



Lulis Leal says she fell in love with Dominique Lefort’s performances with felines in the 1980s on her first trip to Key West, Florida. Her fondness for the famous street performer and his cats shines through in her photographs.


The pictures also give a sense of the joy and satisfaction Lefort seems to feel as his feline co-stars perform their tricks.


Taking a stand to end slavery



Another submission for the CNN Freedom Project made the compelling imagery category this year. Sunny Yang just needed a dry erase marker and a white board to create a powerful message against human slavery. The South Korean teacher used stop-motion photography to illustrate a woman being freed from chains.


The animation was simple, sweet, and creative, and made her webcam vow to make a difference even more heartfelt.


You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// May 17, 2012
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CNN iReport Awards: Original reporting »

Editor's note: The iReport Awards recognize the best in participatory journalism from around the iReport community. You can see the nominees in all of the categories and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


Storytelling is the cornerstone of everything we do at CNN iReport.  iReporters share interesting stories with the world every day, many of which would not of have otherwise been told.


The nominees in the Original Reporting category of the CNN iReport Awards found amazing stories - some in their neighborhoods, some on the other side of the word. They also told their stories with skill, craftsmanship and creativity. Their iReports add depth and perspective to CNN's newsgathering:



Walking with the wounded


Jaco Van Gass


Chris Bennett was driving near his house in London, England, when he saw a man dressed in camouflage dragging car tires around a park. Bennett thought it would be an interesting photo opportunity, so he stopped the car and went to talk with him.


He met British Army Pvt. Jaco Van Gass, who lost his arm and was badly wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. Bennett interviewed Van Gass about his Army career and his difficult recovery and learned that he was training for an expedition to reach the North Pole on foot.


Return to South Sudan


Southern Sudan


Roseann Dennery witnessed this homecoming in south Sudan while working for a relief agency in the war-torn country. A bus carrying returnees arrived in the Bahr el Ghazal region in February after south Sudan voted for independence.


Dennery said the first person she talked to said he lost everything when he fled the fighting 15 years ago and that he had feared he would never be able to come home again.


Spontaneous ground zero celebrations



New Yorker Miriam Cintron rushed to ground zero when she heard that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed. The streets were filled with people celebrating the news.


Cintron captured the festive scene and asked people how they were felt when they heard the news. One Marine described himself as the happiest man in the world and others said they felt patriotic. Her story captured a slice of history.


First same-sex marriage in the military


Same-sex marriage


Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner, Dan Swenzy, tied the knot at midnight on September 20, 2011, just as the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy expired.


iReporter Mark Collier attended the wedding and shared a warm and intimate view of a moment in military history.


Child witches of Nigeria


Toby Binder spent 10 days at a children's home in Nigeria and documented the treatment of children accused of witchcraft. He said the children suffered abuse and neglect after being branded as evil.


Binder's photos show the difficult conditions the children face, but he also captured moments of happiness as the children played.


What does it take to be a real gladiator?



Tracy Bymoen visited a gladiator school at Roman amphitheater in Trier, Germany and met the modern-day warriors who carry on the ancient fighting traditions.


Instructors train for 12 hours a day for years to become full-fledged gladiators and hold boot camps for visitors who want a taste of the lifestyle.


You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

Posted by:
// May 16, 2012
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Pundit of the Week: CNN iReport Awards edition »

Editor's note: This week's Pundit of the Week focuses on the nominees in the Commentary category of the CNN iReport Awards. We chose the six thought-provoking nominees in this category from the thousands of iReports that were approved for use on CNN in 2011. You can see all of the nominees and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


One of the most exciting things about CNN iReport is that it gives everyone an opportunity to speak their minds about the issues that matter to them. The nominees in the Commentary category of the Second Annual CNN iReport Awards tackled a variety of topics – some controversial, others more personal – but they all brought passion to the conversation:


Osama death overboard


Betsy Mitchell was troubled by the celebrations that followed the news that U.S. Navy Seals had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid last May. Mitchell, a college student in North Carolina, said bin Laden needed to be stopped and that she wasn't sorry that he was killed, but she felt that it was wrong to celebrate anyone's death.


Her stance wasn't particularly popular and her iReport started a fiery debate. Mitchell took a lot of criticism in the comments, but she explained herself calmly. She may not have changed her critics’ minds, but her reaction led some commenters to respect hers.


99 problems and the debt ain't one of them


In July, when President Barack Obama and House Speaker Sen. John Boehner were debating the nation's financial crisis, the producers of "Little Luis" -- an animated series about a six-year-old boy and his adopted family -- set out to poke fun at the leaders on Capitol Hill. They found plenty of comic material. In this piece, a discussion between Obama and Boehner devolves into a televised slap fight while Little Luis and his family watches at home. "I don't like this show," the Little Luis said. "You can't tell which is the good guy, or the bad guy."


C.R.Celona, one of the creators, said that he wanted to make the serious point that most people in Washington don't seem to get that Americans need help, not politics as usual.


Ode to Borders



Melissa Fazli was sad to lose her neighborhood Borders when the bookstore chain went out of business last summer. She said it had nice activities for her kids and was a good place to meet friends for coffee. Borders wasn't just a faceless corporation to her, it was part of her community.


Her video tribute added a personal perspective to the corporate bankruptcy story.


I won't take down my Confederate Flag


Byron Thomas, a black college student in South Carolina, sparked an interesting debate on race and symbolism when he challenged an order to take down the Confederate Battle Flag in his dorm room. Thomas said the school told him it violated their policy against racist symbols, but he said he was just showing his Southern pride.


He said he felt that the flag was not racist, and that only an ignorant person could make it racist.


In memoriam: Steve Jobs


Apple tribute


Cartoonist Brixton Doyle posted this touching tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs after his death in October.


Doyle offered his condolences to Jobs' family and friends and thanked him for the many advances that Apple's products helped create.  He also pointed out that his iReport was created entirely with Mac products.


Rewriting Huckleberry Finn is ridiculous!


Writer and motivational speaker Omekongo Dibinga said he thought it was wrong to remove the n-word from new editions of Mark Twain's classic novels "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer". He reacted with anger when publishers announced they were printing a new edition of the classics, and replacing the word with “slave.”


He said that kids need to know that word's painful history, so they don't use it as a term of affection. “We have to be real about who be are; not be politically correct about our history,” he said.


If you've got something to say about what's going on in the news, we would love for you to share your thoughts with CNN. You could be the next Pundit of the Week.

Posted by:
// May 15, 2012
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Posted in: comments, ireport_awards
Announcing the CNN iReport Awards »

iReport Awards image


The CNN iReport Awards are back!


We are thrilled to honor the best in participatory journalism in 2011 and to celebrate the unique personal perspectives the iReporters add to CNN's newsgathering.


In 2011, CNN approved almost 15,000 stories from iReporters all over the world. The iReport team gathered a small army of CNNers from across the network (who work with iReport every day) to help select the 36 nominees. The iReport Awards will be awarded for the six categories that represent the areas that make iReport special: Breaking News, Commentary, Original Reporting, Compelling Imagery, Interview and Personal Story.


We've put together an all-star panel of journalists, innovators and storytellers to judge the awards (meet the judges), and we want you to participate, too.


You can help select who is the Community Choice Award recipient by voting for the nominee that you feel best embodies CNN iReport in 2011.Beginning today, you can choose from any of the 36 nominees in the six categories and vote once every 24 hours until June 11. The iReport with the most votes will receive the Community Choice Award.


Now, here's where it gets really exciting -- we're thrilled that we'll announce the final award recipients during the first-ever iReport Award weekend June 22-24! The weekend-long event will feature in-person workshops and panel discussions at CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with more details to come.


You can check out all of the nominees on the CNN iReport Awards site and don't forget to vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award.


Congratulations to all of the nominees and a huge thank you to every iReporter for being a part of this adventure in newsgathering!

Posted by:
// May 15, 2012
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Posted in: community, ireport_awards

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