The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
As anti-government protests have swept across Turkey in the past week, CNN iReport has received more than 800 photos, videos and stories from people on the ground. While some of these reports are original and have been verified by CNN, many others aren’t.
Everything you see on iReport starts with someone in the CNN audience, and the stories are not edited fact-checked or screened before they post. CNN producers will check out some of the most compelling, important and urgent iReports and, once they're cleared for CNN, make them a part of CNN's news coverage. The red “CNN iReport” logo indicates that a story has been verified and approved by a CNN iReport producer. The stories with the black “NOT VETTED FOR CNN” bar are exactly that – not approved for or verified by the network.
As a news organization, CNN reports both what it knows and does not know about a story. Our vetting process at CNN iReport reflects that as well. In situations such as this, with countless accounts (and plenty of misinformation) from citizens spreading across social media and coming in through iReport, it’s increasingly important to curate that content and verify what’s factual.
It’s not an easy job, but it’s one we take very seriously.
This weekend a user posted a story to iReport claiming that police in Istanbul had used Agent Orange against protesters. The story and claims were being widely circulated on Twitter and in other social media, and the iReport itself was seeing significant traffic, even though it was not vetted by CNN and clearly marked that way. We received questions and criticism about why CNN hadn't taken the story down and in response, we followed up with CNN reporters in the field, who confirmed that there was no reason to believe the claims about Agent Orange were true, but that police had been using a colored substance on protesters. So we put an editor's note on the original story to add that additional context from CNN reporting. Again today, we saw a similar issue with a claim that a communications company called Turkcell had received pressure to block communications, which the company refuted, and which we clarified in an editor's note.
In the age of digital journalism and in with cases such as these, we believe it’s more responsible and clear to our audiences to keep content visible and add context and links that explain and clarify it, instead of deleting it completely. As long as an iReporter isn’t purposefully spreading misinformation – which would be a violation of the community guidelines for iReport that govern what is welcome and what is not – we err on the side of keeping that content visible to the public.
In these cases, though, we ultimately decided to remove the stories but leave up the additional context from our reporting because they were so widespread. It’s our job to dig into the content we receive on iReport, sort fact from fiction, and make those decisions as clear and available as we can. We believe this is the best approach for right now.
We often say that we’re writing the rules of citizen journalism as we go along, which is an exciting but sometimes daunting position to be in. It’s our hope that we can be transparent along the way, explain why we make the choices we do, and continue to listen to your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions, you’re welcome to share them below.
It's no surprise that there's an overlap between Facebook users and the iReport community, which is why we're excited to bring you some great news: Our Facebook integration is about to get a whole lot better!
Starting today, you'll be able to connect your iReport and Facebook accounts in a way that will give you more control and make it easier to share your iReport posts (and your comments too!) on Facebook.
For some time iReporters have been able to connect their accounts so that a Facebook "wall post" was automatically created whenever they uploaded a new iReport. The post included the headline and link to their story, as seen below on the right.
Now, thanks to Facebook's Open Graph technology, you are able to seamlessly share high-quality images you upload to iReport on your Timeline whenever you post a new iReport. The Timeline post will also include the text of your story and a link to the iReport itself. All your shared iReport images and their accompanying stories will live in a special album that will be automatically created for you on Facebook.
But that's not all! In addition to iReport stories and photos, you are alse able to share your comments with Facebook friends, too.
These changes also offer increased control over shared posts. Users that opt-in to connect their Facebook and iReport accounts will now decide which comments and stories get shared, one by one. Checkboxes allowing the choice are now present on the comment and upload pages. Users who have never used the feature before will be prompted with a Facebook permissions dialog in order to connect their accounts.
A checked box means that the comment, or the story and images posted, will also be posted on Facebook. If the box is left unchecked, the post or comment will publish on iReport, but will not be shared on Facebook.
Here's how to get started:
1. Click on the "Post to Facebook" checkbox that now appears on the upload dialog and under the comment box in any iReport story.
* You can also connect and disconnect your accounts from your iReport profile page.
* If this is your first time connecting your iReport and Facebook accounts, you'll be presented with a permissions dialog. Click "Log in with Facebook" to connect your accounts. You may also be presented with a confirmation dialog: If you see your avatar and username, click "close".
2. Once the checkbox is marked and your upload form or comment is complete, click on the respective "Upload your story" or "Post comment" button.
3. Rejoice! Your Facebook post or comment will be shared on your Facebook Timeline with your friends.
Please note that we're still working on adding this new functionality to the iReport and CNN mobile apps. Stay tuned for more updates.
Got any comments or questions about new functionality? We're all ears! Let us know what you think in the comments.
Say hello to our fall intern, Jamescia Thomas!
Jamescia is in her last semester at George State University, pursuing a bachelors degree in sociology. She is a native of Atlanta and previously interned with Zoo Atlanta, Cartoon Network / [adult swim] and the Cannes Film Festival in France, where she studied for four months.
We asked her to tell us something about herself, and this is what she wrote:
“Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, many of my school field trips included visiting the CNN Center. The tours were always so exciting, from viewing the newsroom to hearing live audio feeds of different broadcasts.
"After every visit, a tour guide always asked ‘Who wants to be a part of the CNN team?’ Each time, I remember enthusiastically waving my hand with the rest of my class. Having this experience and now working with CNN makes the excitement of joining the iReport team so much sweeter!”
Please welcome her to the iReport team!
Due to a technical malfunction this afternoon, the page views on recently uploaded iReports are not updating properly. Our tech team is aware of the issue and working to fix it. So if you see an iReport that has comments but zero page views, that's why.
We hope to have the problem resolved soon. As always, if you have a question or concern about iReport you can email email@example.com.
UPDATE: [9:45 p.m. ET] The issue has been resolved. Thanks for your patience!
This week we put out a few fixes and changes to the site that you should know about:
* Share buttons restructured: We're introducing a new way to share your favorite iReports on the emerging G+ network with a Google plus sharing button. To give it some breathing room, we moved the Facebook recommend button just underneath the headline.
* iReporter info module redesigned: Profile pages got a nice nip and tuck in the area of iReporters' avatar and personal info. The change makes the area more concise and compact so you don't have to scroll so much -- you're welcome, fingers.
* Our embeded video player also got some love on this round of tech updates. Now you can see a higher quality thumbnail preview of the video before you decide to play it. No more blurriness!
We're also looking into a few things on the site:
* Upload issues: We're taking a good hard look at how to make the upload process faster and more reliable.
* Disappearing comments: We've been alerted to the fact that some comments appear to be disappearing from stories and blog posts. We're looking into the cause and hope to have a fix soon.
As always, we're all ears on how to make your experience better on iReport.com. Let me know in the comments if you already have something in mind or if you come across a brilliant idea later, shoot me a PM.
You might notice a little change in the Explore page starting today. We replaced the "Most active iReporters" section with a new "Featured iReporters" section.
The new section is editorially curated and will be updated regularly, in order to better maintain balance and diversity, which means exposure for more of you.
Check out featured iReporter profiles and give them a "follow" or leave a comment on their reports. We're sure you'll find something you like.
On iReport, we invite people around the world to upload stories, photos and videos that they think deserve attention from a wider news audience. Everything that's posted receives a very visible "Not Vetted for CNN" banner, and a team of moderators reviews the posted content and pulls material that is flagged by the community as in violation of iReport's Community Guidelines.
iReport receives, on average, 500 iReports a day, and a fraction of those are vetted and approved for CNN's non-user-generated networks and platforms, which involves fact-checking and verifying the details of a story. When a story is approved, the "Not Vetted for CNN" bar disappears and is replaced by a red "CNN iReport" bug that lets the community know a story has been verified. Our producers also give iReport stories extra context, by adding producer notes with further details, CNN reporting, and/or additional quotes from the iReporter.
Sometimes people post deliberately untrue stories on iReport -- about celebrity deaths, for example. Hoaxes are one of the risks of user-generated content and at CNN we take them very seriously. Fortunately, they have been few and far between on iReport. The number of real, important and excellent iReports is far greater than deliberately untrue stories. Just this past week, for example, our site was filled with people sharing their photos and videos of the wildfires in Colorado, views on the Supreme Court's health care decision, and first-person stories from voters in Mexico's presidential election. These stories matter and they're why we are confident in and excited about the future of participatory journalism.
We'd love to hear from you: Are incidents like death hoaxes part of the territory of citizen journalism? What questions do you have for iReport's editorial team? We look forward to reading your comments below.
Calling all college and university students! We're looking for a fall intern to join our team at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The full-time, paid internship lasts about 12 weeks and is open to college students currently enrolled in school. Course credit is available, and preference is given to candidates who have previously contributed to CNN iReport.
One lucky intern will work with iReport's editorial team helping lead CNN's user-generated news platform, participatory media, and community efforts. In addition to vetting iReports, producing content, and helping with brainstorming and editorial planning, interns will also have the opportunity to learn from a host of CNN professionals in various departments. (If you want to learn more, just ask Jake, our current summer intern, how awesome the opportunity is.)
Interested? Go here for more details and to formally apply.
iReporters have long shown a talent for breathtaking photography. So it's no wonder that the iReport team here at CNN is always looking for new places to show off your images! Our latest conquest? CNN Games.
You may have noticed that CNN.com recently added games to its long list of features. You can find them at the bottom of the CNN.com homepage on the right. And we have some good news: starting today, the jigsaw puzzle game will feature iReport images!
The game, which works just like a regular jigsaw puzzle, rotates through a series of iReport, CNN and stock images, so you may have to play a few times before you get a puzzle that features an iReport photo. We'll switch up the iReport images each week since there are so many strong ones to choose from, and as always, we'll give you full credit.
Here are the photos we selected for the puzzle this week:
Images are selected for the puzzle based on photo quality, visual interest and difficulty (i.e., an image of a blue sky might not be chosen because it would be too hard for the user to put back together). You don't need to submit photos to a specific assignment to have them considered for the jigsaw -- we'll look at everything that's been vetted for use on CNN. But if you're looking for a place to show off your photography, we'd suggest taking a look at the photo essays, Travel Photo of the Day, or Light Years assignments. Happy gaming!
Starting this week, you might notice a new face popping up on the iReport site: Our Spring intern, Supraja Seshadri, is officially part of the family now!
You'll get to know her over the next few weeks, but by way of hellos and handshakes, we asked her to pen a short bio to introduce herself to the iReport community:
Supraja is currently a senior at Emory University and will be graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.
Supraja had a great experience interning with the CNN Medical Unit in New York last summer, where she worked on Sanjay Gupta’s “Terror in the Dust” documentary. She has a solid foundation in multimedia and print journalism. She was able to hone these skills in her two previous internships, ShareWIK.com, where she was responsible for a lot of the video content on the website and DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Newspaper in India, where she wrote and published 15 stories on various topics.
Supraja is president of an all-female fusion dance team at Emory and is Publicity Chair of Emory’s Indian Cultural Exchange. She’s artistically inclined and loves to read, write and draw in her free time.
Supraja plans to pursue journalism, particularly on the production side, after college.
So please, join all of us in welcoming Supraja to Team iReport!
We’re always excited when we have the opportunity to launch an assignment with one of our awesome partners, but this one was extra special. Why’s that, you ask? Because Mashable visitors can upload directly to iReport without leaving their site thanks to a fancy widget we call a portable uploader.
Here’s what it looks like on Mashable. Sleek, huh?
As we continue to work with partners like Mashable, Vimeo, GOOD, Team Coco and others, we want the uploading experience to be as easy as it is for community members visiting our site.So this is an important step towards that goal.
If you are the proud owner of a holiday display that's powered or inspired by technology or know of one in your area, share your videos and photos with iReport by Friday, December 16. The best submissions will be featured on CNN and Mashable!
We wanted to let you know that our developers have fixed a couple of video issues and added some new features that we're pretty excited about. Monday's software update solved a problem that was causing videos bigger than 200 MB to fail, as well as an issue with videos getting cut off at the end.
The team also added filter buttons to the profile pages so you can sort individual iReporters' stories to see which ones were approved for use on CNN, shared most often, or garnered the most page views or comments.
Finally, we rolled out a joint assignment feature for projects with our partners around the Internet. We couldn't wait to try that one out, so we launched an assignment with our friends at Mashable to find people who are incorporating technology in their holiday decorations. If you go all out with your holiday decorations, or know someone who does, please share your photos and videos.
As always, if you see something that looks strange on the site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take a look at it.
The hard-working iReport development team rolled out a new site update on Thursday that fixed some of the issues that you've reported since the relaunch. We appreciate everyone's patience and your help chasing down bugs. A lot of the improvements were behind the scenes, but there are two big changes that we think you'll be excited about.
1) You can now see all of an iReporters' stories from their profile page. That was probably one of the biggest complaints that we had, so we're glad to have that fixed.
2) We added a bunch of new groups! Think of groups as a personalized assignment desk that keeps you up-to-date on the topics you care about. When you join the travel group, for example, you’ll get an update in your activity feed every time we post a new travel assignment. If you’re not in the group, you can still participate in an assignment by .
Here’s a list of all of the groups:
TV shows and partners
We’ll be adding new groups regularly, so let us know if you think of something we missed.
The developers are already working away at our next batch of updates, so we’ll keep you updated on their progress.
We've heard from several iReporters, who are having trouble using the site in Internet Explorer 9. Our developers have chased down the problem and expect to fix it with a software update on Thursday. That's just one of the bugs they're planning to correct. We'll let you know when we have more details.
If you see anything that looks weird or isn't working right, please let us know and we'll check it out.
Thanks for your help and your patience.
2011 has been a big year for iReport. It's been a centerpiece of CNN's coverage of so many hugely important news stories, like the revolution in Egypt and Arab Spring, the earthquake in Japan, and more recently, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Occupy Wall Street. In the course of all those stories, we've also made iReport a more powerful tool for participating in the news by launching things like the Open Story and a new iReport app. And of course we celebrated a big milestone - five fantastic years - with a party all the way around the world.
Today we're releasing an entirely re-imagined version of iReport for web, one that starts and ends with the most important thing about iReport: its people. People who care deeply about stories they're part of, or issues that affect them. People who share their experience and expertise to help the rest of us understand the heart of a story.
The new iReport invites you to surround yourself with sources and topics that matter to you. Tell us what you care about and we'll alert you when there's a story that needs your voice. CNN will continue to pay close attention to the stories and conversations here on iReport, and vet the best ones to include in CNN's coverage. Together, iReport and CNN can tell the whole story.
Ok, so. This new site? There's a lot here. A few things we hope you'll notice right away:
A personalized homepage. Once you log in, you'll see a new iReport homepage that's designed to highlight stories and assignments we think you'll be interested in. You might not see a whole lot at first, but as you join new groups and follow iReporters you admire, their work will be what you see on your homepage. To start off, everyone is following Team iReport, the group at CNN charged with finding and highlighting the best of iReport every day.
Groups. There are nearly a million people in the iReport community. That's a lot of people. The new "groups" on iReport are like mini-communities of people who share a common interest, like politics or travel photography or Robin Meade's Morning Express show on HLN. Join groups to meet other people with interests like yours, and to get new assignments on stories that need your voice.
Favorites. Every iReport sports a new "favorite" button, which lets you mark the stories you think deserve attention. Your favorites will display on your profile page, and also help tell CNN which stories need looking into.
A beautiful new media player. We've rebuilt our media player so that every video and photo iReport can now be seen in beautiful high definition format. It's the same size and quality of the new video player on CNN.com, which means that iReporters and Anderson Cooper get equal treatment for their best work. Awesome.
Check out this demo of the new site!
That's just the beginning. Take a look around, try out the new features and let us know what you think. You can drop us a line at email@example.com, or stop by one of several community roundtable chats we'll host on the iReport blog over the next few days.
Hope to see you soon,
Lila & Team iReport