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    Posted May 21, 2009 by
    Atlanta, Georgia

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    All In A Day's Work: A Day With the iReport Team


    What a day!  I can't even begin tell you, how lucky I am.  I was fortunate enough to be able to hang out with the iReport Team for a day.  And I learned so much and met so many nice people.  When I first arrived to the CNN building I was greeted by Nicole who I had been talking to and planning my visit with.  She took me over to where the iReport staff works and I was so excited to actually meet the whole staff, who I had talked to on the phone or e-mail.  Tyson, Katie, Rachel, Henry & David were all hard at work and Christina wasn't expected until later in the day.  The first part of my day was actually learning about iReport behind the scenes along with the whole CNN.com newsroom, where they are located.  Tyson really explained to me that the staff does way more than just look at all the videos coming into iReport and help pick out which stories to air or use on CNN.  A lot of work needing to be done is promoting iReport to each section of CNN and every show.  Without shows on board wanting to show our videos, there would be no use for iReport.  The team talks back and forth between producers and writers trying to see what they need and trying to promote videos iReporter's post, that they think would be great for them to use.  Surprisingly, a lot of people around the CNN Networks don't know a whole lot about iReport.  They showed me a little how they work, and how they actually place an "On CNN" stamp on our videos, which is very simple, and as not as much fun as I thought it would be. 


    Then Tyson decided he was going to show me around the CNN.com newsroom, where I met writers, and producers for the different sections of the websites.  It was very cool to see how it actually all works.  We, as the general public, at least I don't think, we realize how much work goes into each and every story.  We know someone writes it, and it's just there for us to read.  It just doesn't cross your mind, on how long did it take to really write this? How many people did they interview? What was the writer thinking when they wrote it, and what do they want us, the reader, to get out of it?  Even though, I know that's what happens, I never really thought about it, but I will now.


    Before I knew it, I was being shuffled on up to the CNN Newsroom, which is what we see on TV.  I met a few of the staff members including, Andreas and Danielle.  They both said they had seen a bunch of my videos and they were excited to meet me.  They said it was like having a celebrity there, which is what the iReport staff told me earlier.  It's kind of funny having people refer to me as a celebrity or get really excited because they have seen my reports and I was there in person.  It's just a weird feeling.  Maybe it's because it's never really happened before, or because I know myself as just Kyle.  I guess that's how celebrities feel, they are just people like you and me.  They eat, sleep, have feelings, have fun, everything.  Some may be more well off and be able to do more, as in activities but they are still just regular people with lives in the public eye. 


    I had learned before I went up there, that I would be going live.  I had no idea what I was going to be talking about.  I figured it was American Idol since that's what I was going to be talking about later on that day.  However, that all changed when I was still in the CNN.com newsroom and Tyson told someone that I was going to take his 11:40 spot.  You know, where we usually see Tyson, either showcasing iReports or telling Tony Harris what videos they are looking for.  So I was lost on what I was actually going to be talking about.  Well, my first order of business was to actually meet Tony.  The Tony we see on tv, is the EXACT same Tony that he is in person.  He is a loud, fun guy!  I could hear him in the loud newsroom half way across the room.  We headed over there and he was very nice and excited to meet me as I was to meet him.  He asked a bit about me and my history with iReport.  Then, he said, "Kyle, let me get your take on something.  What do you think of these Social Networking Sites, like Facebook and Twitter?" and everyone around him was either laughing or sighing and told me that I should sit down because this could be awhile.  Tony thinks these sites "mark the end of civilization as we know it."  I told him, it's just part of life and history that we move on.  And the keyword is Networking.  It's not my fault everyone enjoys it so much that we abuse it.  He tried to stay serious and started cracking up, and gave me a high-five, while telling me that I was pretty cool.  It is really cool to have Tony Harris of CNN say you are pretty cool.  However after that, I started thinking is this what we are going to be talking about and debate this on air?  I did not want to do that!  HAHA, and I continued wondering.


    After meeting him, they put me in the studio section of the newsroom, and I watched Heidi Collins give the news.  Do you know what she does during the commercial breaks?  She sings, and looked like text messaged as well.  I always wonder when anchors have their laptops out, if they are ever IMing, and what are they talking about?  Are they talking to their friends and planning a barbeque for the weekend, or is it their spouse or loved one asking if they could pick up something on the way home?  I guess we'll really never know who they talk to.  It was cool to see people walking back and forth handing her papers and how she talked with the crew working with her.  I was then moved on to the Control Room.  It was the top of the hour, so things for the first half of my time in there were a little hectic but it was very cool to see how much yelling and talking there is in there just to get the right shots, things we never see or hear.  We just go with the flow of the camera and that's how we see everything.  After things calmed down a little bit, all the machines and people in there we explained to me, but before we could finish I was be swept away to make-up. 


    It was a little intimating for me walking into the makeup room, because I was put in a room with all these women, who are talking about whose dating who and who knows what else.  My makeup artist's name was Dee.  I tried interviewing her to get  the gossip of any celebrities that came in, or any of the anchors but she wouldn't tell.  Sad times.  But she did say she loved her job, which is a good thing to hear.  She asked me what I was talking about with Tony, and I said, "I have no idea, I think Social Networking Sites, but I just don't know."  And before I knew it, I was ready to go on air.  I sat in the studio on a window bench watching Tony and Josh Levs, who regularly shares iReport videos.  After the segment was done, Tony said, "From weather, to politics, to wildfires, this guy is everywhere, who is he? Find out next" and it just made me crack up because he was talking about me.  It's funny because, my aunt was telling my cousin, how I make iReports, and do live shots.  And my cousin had I guess Googled me, and said to my aunt, "Kyle is EVERYWHERE."  So it just made me think of that. I was on my way up to the desk to sit next to Tony when Josh said hi to me and he was excited to meet me, and said I did great work.  Again, more compliments from people that you see on a regular basis on television is pretty exciting.  After shaking his hand I sat next to Tony and talked with him a little bit before we went on air.  But what was I going to be talking about?  American Idol, maybe Social Media?  I saw Tony's notes sitting next to him, and they were all questions about me, or about iReport.  Questions I could answer!


    This was so exciting.  I mean I have been on live television before, but never at an anchor desk.  It was exciting to see how messy it was up there, underneath the desk, with a soap box for a footrest for short anchors or reports, such as myself and a table for water or snacks or anything really.  "5, 4, 3, 2..." Tony started talking.  I knew I could do this.  And then there I was, in the same shot at Tony Harris, and they played my some of my iReport clips.  Tony was laughing the whole time.  But he really just wanted to talk, so we had a conversation on why iReport, and how I wanted to be his co-anchor!  Before I knew it, he high-fived me once again!  And the news went on.  Since I was done, I figured I should show everyone, with the camera Nicole gave me for the day, what it looks like from behind the desk.  I panned over to Tony as he was still reading the news, and I think I interrupted the newscast and made him loose his concentration.  He turned to me, and said "What are you doing? Making an iReport right here?"  It was funny.  Now that I look back on it, and I did interrupt the newscast!  Not in a bad way, but I did it!  How many people do you know have interrupted a live news broadcast? 


    Then it was time for commercial break and for me to get off set!  I thanked Tony, and he thanked me.  It really was a great time.  Andreas did a post interview interview with me on how i felt and how I think I did.  It was very exciting still just to be there.  The high of it, is still in me.  I went into the hall after, to wait for Nicole, and Donna Huntly, who is part of the Viewer Communications Management, came up to introduced herself.  I had e-mailed back and forth with her a while back.  Again, it is very cool to meet people you talk with via phone or e-mail.  She said I did a great job, and she loves watching everyone's iReports.  Nicole arrived to take me away to lunch as we were ending our conversation.  The rest of the iReport team was at lunch, including Christina. 


    We talked about everything from future assignments to musicals, horror movies, and even twitter.  Before I knew it we rushed back to the CNN.com newsroom for a few minutes and then it was back upstairs to do a live debate on CNN.com Live about American Idol.  About half way up, I really started feeling the urge to go to the bathroom, but we were running late so there was no time to use the bathroom.  I was getting ready to talk to CNN.com Anchor Reggie Aqui, who I met earlier in the morning.  I was very surprised at how tall he was.  You really don't get an idea of how tall an anchor is,who is sitting most of the time until you see them in person.  But he is a very friendly, out going person.  They figured for the purpose of the debate it would be more "fair" if I was not sitting next to him.  As I was sitting there in the newsroom all MICed in and ear-pieced up, all I could think about was this better go fast because I just wanted to go to the bathroom.  Then a producer came in over my ear and told me that they were running a few minutes late.  I couldn't do anything except sit in the chair and wait.  Eventually the interview and debat started.  It wasn't as great as my first interview in the morning with Tony Harris.  I was just itching to get out of the chair, which made me loose my concentration.  Even though, I was a little disappointed by it, I learned I really do need to focus and take my thoughts of whatever is distracting.  Sometimes, it's nice to fail, not that I failed at the interview, I just didn't do as well as I would have liked, which sometimes I think is better than being perfect.  I want to improve everything I do.  Whether it is talking live on air, cooking or doing anything really.  I did try.  I tried my best at that moment, and that's all I can ask for! 


    I am fortunate enough to say I made it to the bathroom before I wet in my pants.  We headed back to the CNN.com newsroom, and Mr. Henry Hanks decided to give the FULL tour.  I was very excited however I didn't realize I would be getting a work out.  I had been walking all day up and down stairs and across the huge building.  It's a good work out for everyone that works there.  Henry took me first to the NewsRoom again to meet Jackie Jeras, one of the CNN meteorologist.  As we were walking over to her, Henry was explaining that the weather team loves iReport's and she would probably be very pleased to meet with me.  She was very kind and pretty.  She actually remembered one of my reports, from when I threw hot boiling water into air in freezing conditions earlier this year.  She said she used it on air.  Then she asked me if I had any questions.  I giddily said, "YES! Can I play with the cool tv?"  She said, "The magic wall? Go for it!"  You know the touch screen tv that they use and can enlarge and draw and just do about anything with.  It was so much fun!  It was defiantly a cool toy to play with!  After a few pictures, we walked into a few editing rooms, along with control rooms.  We headed to the CNN International control and news room.  One place I had never imagined being there was the video library.  It was rooms and rooms of videos.  Some were of certain topics, so  if you needed a shot of children, or a certain city, you go there, get the tape and you can use it for your story.  Then every broadcast ever on CNN is recorded as well and put into the library.  One of our last stops was the HLN newsroom.  There we met producer Aarron, who I had just talked to on the phone a few weeks ago before going on HLN live to talk about Earth Day from my backyard with Chuck Roberts.  A few minutes later, Chuck Roberts, himself walked into the room, and when we walked up to him, he certainly remembered who I was.  He thanked me for all that I have done with iReport.  We took a picture together and made our way back to the iReport area.


    Tyson had informed me that the producer's at Larry King Live were going to use my question I had submitted to him on air.  The crazy thing is, they didn't know I was on tv earlier or even at the CNN Center.  Tyson told them I was with them, and they were possibly interested in having me read my question LIVE on air to LARRY KING.  Unfortunately, it became a little crazy in LA, where Larry films, that they decided to just use my video.  Regardless, Larry King was going to answer MY question.  I don't know anyone who has ever had that happen.  I was also able to meet Kyle Rogers of the tech department, who has given me ideas for iReport.  The day was wrapping up slowly, but I had a great time.  Christina gave an inside look at a project she's working on, which was super cool.  And somewhere I admitted to the group one my guilty music pleasures was Hilary Duff. Haha


    I thank the iReport staff for letting me be able to hang out with them for the day.  The major highlight was defiantly meeting them, people I talk with on a regular basis but have never met.  They are all great people to talk to and hang out with.  Sometimes it's hard to believe there are really people behind those user names.  You never know who anyone is until you meet them in person.  I'm sure I have just scratched the surface with iReport.  I enjoy everything I do, and I enjoy sharing my views and opinions with the world.  iReport is defiantly a place where you can do just that.  Again I thank you guys for having me and introducing me to everyone.  You really made me feel I was part of the team!


    Picture 1: Me @ The Magic Wall

    Picture 2: Me & Jacqui Jeras

    Picture 3: View from the iReport area

    Picture 4: The Library

    Picture 5: Tyson, Me, Nicole & Christina

    Picture 6: Me & CNN.com Anchor Reggie Aqui

    Picture 7: Me & Chuck Roberts

    Picture 8: Me & Tony Harris

    Picture 9: High-Fiveing Tony Harris

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