The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
It’s the first day of spring! (In the northern hemisphere, that is.) We teamed up with the CNN Weather unit for a one-day assignment on Instagram using the hashtag #springcnn.
The weather team will be showing some of the best photos on CNN International.
Check out some of the ones that have come in so far, and if you have a smart phone, go here to view all the photos coming in.
What spring means to me: Gardening, pups, outdoors
Photo by CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado (@jendelgadocnn) in Atlanta, Georgia
Thanks to everyone who joined! CNN International showcased some of the best photos on air.
CNN iReporters were armed with binoculars, cameras and tripods Tuesday – ready to capture even just a glimpse of Comet Pan-STARRS.
At exactly 7:46 p.m., Brian Karczewski got the shot he had been waiting for in a California church parking lot. Karczewski, 24, captured the comet alongside the crescent moon overlooking the Ortega Mountains. It was barely visible to the naked eye and appeared as "a little orange fuzzy spot," but he used binoculars and his camera to pick it out.
"I love astronomy and find astrophotography a good challenge," he said. "I was very excited to capture the comet next to the Moon. Never photographed a comet before!"
Brian McMahon also waited patiently for the comet to appear. He began snapping photos after sunset in Richmond, California, pointing his camera toward Mount Tamalpais. McMahon said the comet appeared in the photos 30 minutes after the sun had set.
And in Galveston, Texas, web designer Vadim Troshkin shot this photo for Galveston.com and said he was glad to see the comet during “such a beautiful sunset.”
Did you capture Comet Pan-STARRS too (or any other interesting celestial sights)? Share it here!
Several months ago, we partnered with Travel + Leisure to ask you for your favorite restaurants to "eat like a local." You know, the fabulous places that aren't mentioned in any guidebooks but serve a heck of a meal. You sent in hundreds of delectable submissions, and we promised that 10 of your picks would be featured in Travel + Leisure's April 2013 issue for their "100 places to eat like a local" special.
Well, the time has come! T+L chose their 10 favorite submissions and the issue will hit newstands any day now. We were lucky enough to get an early copy, and were so proud to see your iReports in print. It's the first time iReports have ever been featured in a magazine!
Want to see if your eatery was among the 10 printed? Check out the gallery here, or download a PDF of the magazine article. And be sure to check out Travel + Leisure's website for the full list of 100 places to eat like a local.
Congratulations to the 10 iReporters who were selected! And thanks to everyone who participated for making us so very, very hungry at our desks.
When rumors started swirling months ago that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had died, one Venezuelan citizen penned a passionate commentary. A piece he saved for the day that Chavez died.
Juan Francisco De León, a music teacher who lives in Caracas part-time, published his thousand-word commentary in the form of a comment on CNN’s Chavez obituary on Monday. His comment caught our eye and we invited him to share his perspective on CNN iReport.
De León’s words resonated with a wide audience. In less than 24 hours, "10 reasons why I will not miss Chavez" has received almost 150,000 views and more than 26,000 Facebook recommends.
As this iReport got so much attention, we decided to take a closer look at the sources and statistics he’s citing in his argument and offer a fact check:
TRUE AND FALSE: Even from your death bed, you had a Supreme Court justice fired because she didn't agree with your politics.
De León was correct that Chavez fired a judge, but it wasn’t a Supreme Court justice. Judge María Lourdes Afiuni was arrested in December 2009, and other judges were fired, but she is not a Supreme Court justice, according to Human Rights Watch. Then-Supreme Court justice Eladio Aponte, who is male, was fired from the National Assembly for alleged links to a drug suspect in March 2012.
TRUE AND FALSE: In 14 years, our homicide rate more than tripled from 22/100K to 74/100K. While judges were busy trying to prove their political allegiance to you, only 11% of homicides led to a conviction.
De León is right – the homicide rate in Venezuela tripled – but the numbers are different. There were 67 homicide victims per 100,000 in 2012, up from 19 victims per 100,000 in 1998, when Chavez took office. That’s according to the LA Times.
FALSE: 10.7% of Venezuelans are in extreme poverty.
Depending on how you define extreme poverty, the numbers vary. As of 2011, 31.6% of Venezuelans live below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook. But, according to "official government figures" in a Guardian analysis from October 2012, there were 8.5% of Venezuelans living in extreme poverty in 2011.
CNN confirmed the following claims from De León’s iReport:
TRUE: In 14 years you built less public housing than any president before you did in their 5 year periods. Hospitals today have no resources, and if you go there in an emergency you must bring with you everything from medicines to surgical gloves and masks.
TRUE: When you took office, the price of oil was $9.30, and in 2008 it reached $126.33.
TRUE: You shut down more than 30 radio and television stations for being critical of your government.
TRUE (of course, “manipulated” is an opinion): You manipulated the elections in 2010 to make sure the opposition didn't get more than a third of seats in Parliament even though they got 51% of the popular vote.
Like most iReporters, De León isn't a trained journalist. But he’s someone who has been active in online discussions about Venezuela, and we're glad he shared his personal views with CNN.
Numbers aside, De León's sentiment stands and his commentary rang true with many readers. We invite you to read his perspective and weigh in with your thoughts on Chavez.
In the past week, the Kansas City, Missouri, region has been hit with two rounds of wet, heavy snow. The blizzards have caused plenty of trouble – caved roofs, downed power lines, fallen tree limbs and treacherous roads.
But on the upside, we now have lots of giant snowmen. And snow Frankensteins. And snow super heroes. And at least one snow fortress. Here are a few of our favorites this week:
Towering Snow Bob
In Pleasant Hill, Jeremy Newman sent this shot of his kids Wyatt, 6, and Camryn, 3, with the towering 8-foot snowman they made and named last week. As you can see, Snow Bob's legs are taller than the children!
They packed the snow in a rubber trashcan (which is why Bob has legs instead of the typically round snowman body). Newman, who stands 6-foot-3, had to stand on his tip-toes to slide Bob's head on.
Sadly, Bob melted away on Sunday.
In Overland Park, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City), Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer had a challenge for his daughter, Alexandra: Build a snowman taller than a 12-foot snowman featured in The Topeka Capital-Journal Sunday.
Alexandra, along with two friends and her younger sister, spent four hours building a 13-foot "FrankenSnowman" Wednesday. Things got tricky once they reached 8 feet:
"Two of us would be filling buckets while one would be on top dumping them or catching snow chunks we tossed up to fill in the cracks. More than once you'd see a girl slide down a 10-foot mountain of snow or get a have a mini avalanche in their face."
Matt Noonan, an engineer in Kansas City, looked outside his door Wednesday to find his neighbors -- some college students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City -- constructing this elaborate fortress around their house while listening to “inspirational video game music.”
“I went outside and gave them an extra shovel because they were using their hands, sleds, and even a snow board to scoop the snow. They were very appreciative and promised they'd shovel my driveway as a thank you,” Noonan said. “They were more than welcome to all the snow on my property.”
Lastly, this one wasn't in Kansas City, but we just had to share this Super Snowman in Lansing, Michigan. Ryan Shapiro, a snowman-making novice, worked with his friend Steven Saules (slightly more experienced at this) to create the iconic character in Shapiro’s back yard Tuesday night.
The pair started out making an old-fashioned snowman. “Once we were done we realized we had no sticks or carrots but we DID have spray paint and butter knives,” Shapiro wrote in an email to CNN. They worked through the night using red wall paint, blue spray paint, gray primer and butter knives to sculpt and paint the figure.
Got a great snow creation to share? Upload it here! As always in severe weather conditions, please do not put yourself at risk.
It is considered one of the highlights of a trip to Egypt -- a flight on a hot air balloon over the temples of Luxor, seat of power for the country’s ancient pharaohs and home to some of the country's most spectacular sites.
But on Tuesday, one flight turned to horror: Nineteen tourists were killed Tuesday when their balloon in Luxor exploded and plummeted to the ground.
Here on iReport, vacationers who had taken similar rides were quick to share their images and experiences.
While the crash has led to some raising questions about the safety of such balloon flights, previous travellers were quick to praise the efficiency and professionalism of their Egyptian hosts.
"I felt very safe and in fact remember thinking that the pilot and crew for my balloon were overly cautious and constantly on the radio, monitoring the other balloons in the group to ensure we didn't collide," said Gene Roth, who took a balloon ride in Luxor in July 2010.
"There was a full safety briefing prior to the flight and reminders along the way."
Business owner Thomas Stevens from Astbury Park, New Jersey, said he found news of the crash particularly sad because of the “calm and peaceful experience” he had enjoyed, watching the lush green fields of Luxor serenely sail by in the cool Egyptian morning air.
He took the trip in November 2011. "It must have been terrifying [the crash], because the ride itself is such a calm and peaceful experience, normally," he said.
Aside from a slightly bumpy landing, Mac Hopkin and his wife, retirees from near Dallas, Texas, had no complaints about what he described as “one of the highlights” of their Egypt trip in 2008.
“We didn't feel in any way that it wasn't as safe as air travel could be," he said."The crews seemed reasonably proficient, and judging from the number of balloons, [flying] is a very frequent occurrence."
Florida resident John Baldwin and his wife, who undertook a balloon flight in 2007, admitted they were taken aback by the 26 people permitted in the balloon’s basket, but said they felt fairly safe.
"I was saddened to hear of the deaths in Luxor, but since we took our ride in 2007 there must have been tens of thousands of safe flights," he said.
"Air travel, whether in an air plane, helicopter or balloon, has certain risks."
But for at least one vacationer the experience was an unnerving one shesaid she would not repeat.“The balloon almost crashed down,” said Denise Pereira, who visited Egypt from Curitiba, Brazil, last June.
“On my video you can see the balloon suddenly coming down and hear the pilot screaming 'landing position!' while the balloon goes directly to the wires and then to the houses. While the scenery was stunning, she acknowledges she boarded knowing nothing of the equipment’s maintenance or the crew’s qualifications.
“We were lucky, there was time to get back the altitude and we had no explosion,” she wrote in her iReport. “[But it was] My first and last balloon flight... ever!”
You might have noticed something really cool happening lately: Three iReporters have had bylined opinion pieces on CNN.com!
iReport's focus has primarily been on photos and videos, but earlier this year, we started to receive some insightful, well-written essay submissions, too. First was Deborah Mitchell's compellingly titled "Why I raise my children without God," which soon became the most-viewed iReport of all-time. It was so good, in fact, that we did something we’ve never done before – we decided to run it on CNN’s Belief blog, where it received more than 1,600 comments. Last week, Richard Lucas penned a beautifully-written testimony about anxiety that ran that on CNN.com as well. And just yesterday, veteran iReporter Cynthia Falardeau published a fantastic piece on the Oscar Pistorius saga.
We’re thrilled to be able to show off iReporters' writing talents and thoughtful insights on CNN.com, and so proud of the iReporters who have earned bylines so far. We'd really like to see more of your personal essays and opinion pieces, so we've created this assignment to collect all your essay submissions, with the hope of running the best ones on CNN. Of course, writing a piece like this is often highly personal and can be difficult, so here are some tips to get you started if you'd like to give it a shot:
Pick the right topic. When you’re writing a commentary, opinion piece, or personal testimony, think about your passions. You need to feel strongly about what you’re writing and believe in your words. If you’re not engaged in the topic, pick a new one, because you don’t stand a chance of engaging your reader. If your subject is in the news at the moment, that’s great, but it doesn’t have to be if it’s compelling enough. Deborah Mitchell's piece on religion didn’t have a news peg, but it was something that she felt strongly about, and that passion came through.
Make it personal. You know the saying "write what you know?" It’s especially applicable here. When you’re thinking about essay topics, pick something that you can bring a unique perspective to, or something that you have expertise on. As someone living with panic disorder for five years, Richard Lucas could speak about it with authority. And Cynthia Falardeau brought a fresh angle to the Pistorius story by talking about her experiences with her son, who is also an amputee.
Show, don’t tell. One strong anecdote makes a point better than a paragraph full of generalizations. Be specific and try to avoid cliches. In Falardeau's article, she tells us a story about meeting a man at her gym that hammers home the thesis of her piece in an instant.
Let your voice shine. Imagine you're telling your story to a friend. Then write it using those words and that tone. Your piece should feel conversational, like you’re just chatting with the reader. Don't try to be formal or use words plucked from a thesaurus. It's your story, so tell it in your own voice. You can even try reading your piece out loud to yourself. If it doesn't sound like you, then try again.
Don’t marry your text. This one might be the most difficult of all, and as writers, we empathize completely. But you're going to have to edit your piece. You may really love that one little side note you included, or how you phrased a particular point, but if it doesn't support your thesis or move your story along, it has to go. Try to keep your piece to 1,000 words or less – you can say almost anything in that amount of space, trust us. And know that, if we decide to run your story on CNN.com, we'll make some edits ourselves. We'll work with you and make sure we keep the meaning of your piece intact, but if we brutally slash something that you loved, know that it's not a commentary on you – we just want to make your story the best it can be for when it hits the big time.
Excited? So are we. Get typing and share your pieces on our essay assignment. And leave any writing/editing questions in the comments – we'll do our best to answer them.
Last Sunday, some members of the iReport team found themselves dancing like fools on a MARTA train. My husband's sketch comedy group was behind the madness, and it was all to be part of the Harlem Shake -- the latest viral meme that's sweeping the Internet.
In case you're wondering, that's me in the crazy scuba diver helmet, Nicole rocking out with the lemur, and Germain showing off some sweet umbrella dance moves. You can watch the video here, as long as you promise not to judge us too harshly!
For the uninitiated, the Harlem Shake is a hip-hop dance and the title of a 2012 instrumental track produced by Baauer. In the past week, though, the song spawned a series of 30-second dance videos that start with a masked individual doing the Harlem Shake solo in a group before cutting to a wild dance party featuring everyone on screen.
At this point, it's nearly impossible to keep track of how many Shake videos there are in the world. People have taken the meme into offices, underwater, at a concert arena, and inside a fire truck. And while all of the videos are different, they're all ridiculous and hilarious and fun.
So, why exactly did the Harlem Shake take off? Because it's simple, fun to participate in, and, most importantly, structured. We've long observed that crowd-sourced projects that have clear boundaries allow people to be super creative within those limitations, and the Harlem Shake is a fantastic example of that. The videos all use the same song and start with one person dancing, then erupt into craziness once the beat drops.
At its basic core, the videos are simple. The dorm room one that really kicked off the trend likely took a few minutes to execute. But because of the simplicity and set rules of the meme, people have been endlessly creative and ambitious when it comes too pulling them off. And the popularity of the videos is no surprise, either -- viewers know that watching is only a 30-second investment of time with a great payoff towards the end.
Plus, there's wild dancing and crazy costumes in unexpected places. What's not to love? We only wish that we kicked off the trend first!
The headline was alarming, and the story of a Texas-sized asteroid on a collision course with Earth would have been absolutely terrifying – if it wasn’t absolute nonsense.
An iReport posted recently claimed that the Nibiru asteroid would slam into the Earth and used a fake news article as evidence. CNN producers quickly dismissed the story, but that didn’t stop it from being recommended more than 10,000 times on Facebook. In case you’re new to iReport, all iReports are user-submitted, and have the words "NOT VETTED BY CNN" stamped across the top until someone at CNN talks to the submitter and confirms the information (you can learn more on our About page. Because this story was so popular, we decided to add an additional note that it was not confirmed by CNN and provided a link to additional information.
Most of the people who commented on the story didn't seem too worried about it. Some made jokes, while others did their own detective work and declared it a hoax.
iReporter balefire97 said folks just need to relax:
"Being born in 1979, this will be the 49th doomsday I have lived through. If memory serves me right, the last 48 weren’t very memorable, nor accurate, but that may go without saying, so I predict this one is going to be equally uninteresting and equally false. Tinfoil hats for everyone!" he wrote.
NASA saw it too, and they weren't thrilled. They've been pretty busy knocking down various "end of the world prophesies" in the months leading up to the Mayan Apocalypse. Some people believe it is coming on December 21, because that's when the end of the 5,126-year cycle on the Maya's Long Count calendar.
We talked with the senior editor of the NASA website (who used to work here at CNN) and encouraged him to participate in the conversation, so that the thousands of people who were going to iReport would also be able to the real story. He agreed and created the NASAWeb iReport account.
He said the story was "absolutely false" and that "if Nibiru were real and headed for Earth, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade." He also said that if it Nibiru was about to hit the Earth it would be visible to the naked eye, so you'd be able to see it for yourself. You can read more about Niribu and other apocalypse hoaxes on the NASA website.
We are always looking for space stories here at CNN iReport, so if you're an amateur astronomer we'd love for you to share your (true) stories with us. In the meantime, we've got our fingers crossed that NASAWeb will hook us up with some future astronauts or give us the Mars Curiosity rover's phone number.
There are quite a few aspiring journalists honing their skills on iReport. We caught up with five iReporters who have turned their journalistic dreams into a career in journalism.
Kyle Aevermann has been a constant presence on iReport since 2008, discussing his thoughts on everything from “American Idol" to one of his favorite annual events, Black Friday. This year, he took on a role as weekend anchor, reporter and morning producer for KOBI-TV in Medford, Oregon.
“I think that being part of iReport really helped me shape my philosophy as a journalist,” he said. “I want to use my position to give people a voice.”
Katy Brown joined the team at WCHS/WVAH-TV in Charleston, West Virginia, in just the past few months and she's already on air. Describing herself as a “one-man band,” she’s responsible for being the photographer, reporter, editor and writer for all her stories.
She credited her time on iReport with developing a very specific skill set.
“When I was iReporting, I was watching debates and speeches for the 2008 election. I trained my ear for things that didn't seem right or were just odd. I would then take off from there, researching or voicing my opinion on whatever caught my ear. Now, I do the same thing. I listen really close to interviews and sometimes catch things that maybe I wasn't supposed to or no one else caught.”
Ashley Porter made a big impression right away on iReport with stories from the Boston area, such as the star-studded “Hasty Pudding” event and the Boston Marathon.
It wasn’t long before she was working in local markets like West Palm Beach, Florida, and Austin, Texas. She’s currently a multimedia journalist at WTSP-TV in Tampa, Florida.
“In college, iReport was what inspired me to dig for stories about people making a difference,” she said, referring to her iReport about a man walking across the U.S. gathering peoples’ messages for then-President-elect Obama. "I never thought about using those stories to get my first job out of college, but I put them in a portfolio and, thankfully, it worked.”
Chris Soriano caught our attention with his very first iReport: a video poem in honor of the movie “Moneyball.” The San Diego resident went on to report for KYMA-TV in Yuma, Arizona, starting less than a week after he attended the 2012 iReport Awards in June. (He is now a weekend anchor.)
“I learned that the vital component about being a reporter is throwing yourself in the story and overcoming your fears of what others might think,” he said.
“I was a shy person when I first started as an iReporter. I was afraid of what people might think as they passed me by on the street as I'm filming myself doing a story, but the more I did it, the more the confidence it built inside me.
“iReport gave me an outlet to measure my work through view counts and comments, beyond my inner-circle of friends and colleagues,” she said. “And while not all of my iReports were popular or received positive feedback, that only helped me grow the thick skin needed to survive the broadcast world.”
We’re tremendously proud to have contributed – if only in a small way – to the new careers of these reporters.
Have you been able to apply your experience with iReport to your own career? Let us know in the comments.
Last week, I had the opportunity to shadow the production crew of HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. While there, I was able to learn from producers and writers on the show, listen in from the control room and even meet the anchor, Robin Meade.
Starting my day out with HLN was a whirlwind of excitement; I could hardly sleep the night before because I was so anxious to see how the show is put together and how they use stories from iReporters in the show.
When I arrived, I found out that the morning show team gives new meaning to the words “starting your day bright and early” by getting in at 2:30 a.m. followed by a rundown meeting at 3 a.m. of interesting news topics. On this particular day, the team’s focus was covering the scandal surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus, honoring service members for Veterans Day and making sense of the fiscal cliff.
HLN and especially Morning Express focuses on telling the stories of people who are affected by the news, so it makes sense that they love to use iReports.
On the day that I was there they featured Christine O’Connor’s iReport video of her three year old son, Corbin, singing the national anthem for Veterans Day. Morning Express also places a huge emphasis on our country’s military, celebrating troops with a daily shout-out that usually comes from the Salute to Troops assignment.
The show often partners with iReport to create assignments that their viewers can relate to and can have fun with, like the battle of the marching bands assignment that recently ended.
The newest Morning Express assignment is a call-out for holiday sing-a-longs. They're looking for original video of church choirs, glee clubs and other musical groups belting out holiday music. The show will be airing submissions to that assignment every Friday in the month of December!
Be sure to join the Morning Express assignment group to get up to date information on what the show is looking for.
We've seen literally thousands of comments and social media posts about the tangled web of former CIA Director David Petraeus' career-ending affair. Readers are talking about politics, the timing of Petraeus' announcement and possible long-term impact. But an especially popular theme that keeps coming up is fidelity and faithfulness, to which some readers say they can relate all too well.
So we posted a survey on Facebook asking readers where that line of unfaithfulness begins. Is it fantasizing, flirting, communicating online, hugging, kissing or having sex? We received more than 2,000 answers to our unscientific poll, and as of 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, the majority of respondents said one may stray without ever making physical contact. About 47% of readers said unfaithfulness can begin when people are sending e-mails and texts without their partner's knowledge.
"I think it is the sneaking and lying that make it infidelity as much as the sex," explained commenter Jean Timmels. Another reader, Tess Gipson, said, "When the relationship has to be kept secret from your partner it is wrong. Otherwise you could bring the person in and sit them down in the living room and visit like a friend!"
Drawing the line at sex was the second most popular choice, but it only got 20% overall.
"Kissing, per se, is meaningless," wrote Michael Wilson.
Indeed, other forms of touch like kissing (13%) and hugging (less than 1%) were picked even less often. Some drew the line at flirtatious behavior (11%). We also heard from a few readers about fantasizing, which garnered the most comments but only 8% of the survey votes. Overall, readers seemed to place a lot of power in the mental aspect of love.
"It starts when you are thinking about it," said Belinda Lipscomb. "Because where your thoughts go, your actions will soon follow."
Where do you think unfaithfulness begins? How do you feel about the Petraeus affair? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below or sound off on video.
The Northeast has been hit hard by weather in the last couple weeks. Superstorm Sandy brought flooding, destruction and power loss, and just as cleanup was beginning, a nor'easter cooled temperatures to freezing and dumped a fresh batch of snow over the region.
New York was one of the hardest hit areas in the storms. But amongst the devastation, iReporters found moments of beauty and strength. Here are a few of their most stunning images:
Edgar Alan Zeta Yap, who's visiting New York from the Philippines, was delighted to see the snow and documented it around Manhattan. "I immediately rushed outside with my camera to capture some images, and as the snowfall got heavier, I ended up walking from [the] Upper East Side, down Fifth Avenue, to Times Square, taking snapshots of the snow bearing down on people and blanketing the streets," he said.
Also visiting New York, Jonathan Albizures of Atlanta had mixed feelings when he saw the snow. "I was excited to see the snow but at the same time, I felt bad because it complicated the situation with the storm," he said. He snapped this photo of people walking through Times Square.
Lower Manhattan, including the new One World Trade Center (at left, under construction), is seen from snowy Jersey City. Pankaj Purohit shot this and other photos of the snow blanketing his city.
Snow flurries hit the Bronx's Van Cortlandt Park. "This is making the destruction from Sandy take a step back," said Beth Alice Barret, a New Yorker who shot photos around the city. "The snow is wet and brings undesired weight to the already bowed trees."
Columbia University students in upper Manhattan brave the snow on their campus in this photo by Roshen Weliwatta.
If you're in the Northeast and can do so safely, show us how the severe weather is affecting you.
We thought we'd follow in their footsteps with our own set of five learnings after completing the nationwide "I Voted" iReport challenge. You shared more than 2,700 "I Voted" stickers and other voter artifacts from all 50 states - congratulations!
Here's what we learned from your submissions, from serious to silly:
1. Oregonians vote by mail
Did you know that Oregon doesn't have precincts and voting machines? Residents there can only vote via mail or by dropping their ballot off at designated libraries and offices. Oregonian iReporter Emily Erwin shared a photo of herself sending in her ballot on Election Day. The downside to mail-in ballots? "I don't have a sticker to show off," she said.
2. Georgia's sticker stands out from the rest
Here in Atlanta, we're definitely fans of the "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker with its pretty peach background. But besides being symbolic of the peach state, it's also the only "I Voted" sticker we saw that didn't feature red or blue. Here's to standing out from the crowd!
3. It's a hipster civic duty to post your sticker on Instagram
We know where all the cool kids were on Election Day. Seriously, look at you guys. Instagram was flooded with photos of voters proudly sporting their stickers (we'll admit, we did it too). We invited you to share yours via the hashtag #ivotedcnn and received more than 2,000 photos.
4. Not everyone gets a sticker after they vote
It's tragic, really. But voters in New York, New Jersey and Oregon - along with many people who voted absentee, voted early, or whose precincts couldn't afford stickers or ran out - didn't get stickers after casting their ballots. We thought that was very sad, so we created a lovely printable sticker for all you voters who didn't get one to show your pride. And some of you even designed your own!
5. You bring your kids to vote
Some parents wanted to teach their kids about the democratic process, others just couldn't find child care. But whatever the reason, many of you with kids brought them along to the polling place. "Taking children to the polls is important, even though there's sometimes a wait," said Lucy Tyler, whose daughter is in the pink shirt above. She stood in line for three hours to vote in Alexandria, Virginia. Still, she says, "it's important for them to understand the meaning of election day at a young age." And, of course, nobody loves to wear the "I Voted" stickers more than kids!
Didn't share your sticker yet? What are you waiting for?! Add it to our collection and view all the others here.
One day back in March, Denise Larsen decided to shoot video of her eight-year-old son, Tristan, so he could ask a question on the CNN iReport interview, a chance for iReporters to interview newsmakers, athletes and celebrities.
Much to her delight, Tristan's question -- "Can you come to my birthday on May 10?" -- was answered by the popular NFL quarterback.
Brees sadly couldn't make it to the party, but he recognized Tristan as a big fan.
"We've gotta get you to a Saints game," Brees said. "You look like one of those great Saints fans, who would be a good luck charm for us. We'll find a way to get you to a game. It'll be my birthday present to you."
Seven months later, this past Sunday night, Tristan finally got to redeem Brees' offer and see his hero in action.
As Tristan told his mother, "Our seats were great -- up high but a perfect view from the end zone of the whole field."
Tristan also got to see Brees warming up on the field as he entered the stadium, a special highlight.
Although the Saints lost to his home team Denver Broncos 34-14, Tristan said he was not upset, because "I won... big time."
Check out a video slideshow of Tristan's big day below. And you can see more iReport Interviews here.