iReport is CNN’s platform for user-generated content, where non-journalists submit video stories, the best of which are broadcast on the news channel.
The update comes five years after iReport was launched and, according to CNN’s post, now has a community of “nearly a million people”.
Last month at news:rewired – connected journalism, CNN digital producer Dominique van Heerden shared some interesting statistics on iReport, such as that CNN had published 912,000 iReports since its launch, with 15,000 iReports published on average every month and 2.4 million unique users in June 2011.
In an article on the new version iReport, lostremote’s Natan Edelsburg said the aim was “to create the largest ‘social network for news,’ according to Lila King, participation director at CNN”.
CNN today announced it was launching its first ever iReport Awards, to celebrate the contributions of its citizen journalist iReporters and recognise the “most extraordinary iReport stories of 2010”.
There are six award categories in total – breaking news, compelling imagery, commentary, interviewing, original reporting and personal stories.
Our producers looked at hundreds of iReports to find the most amazing stories, and then we worked with our friends at CNN, CNN International and CNN.com to choose the five nominees in each category. It was a tough job, with hours spent agonizing over the lists. Picking the winners will be even tougher, so we’ve recruited a talented group of judges to make the final call.
Visitors to the site can also vote for the winner of a separate Community Choice Award until 7 March. The winners will be announced in March.
A week on since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, how are news websites covering the story? What tools are being used and how are media organisations helping those affected with information on top of news for a wider audience?
Here’s a selection of sites that have made the most of multimedia tools to break and roll reports of the crisis. Please add your own examples in the comment space below or email Journalism.co.uk.
Unsurprisingly, the earthquake took out all the landline and mobile phone lines in Haiti immediately. This obviously disabled the country spectacularly – as well as the pressing issue of not being able to speak to each other, it meant that Haitians were not able to speak to the rest of the world. As a result, the classic ways of gathering information for a rolling news channel – call everyone we know and find out what’s happening – were redundant. We had a map, and that was it.
Twitter, Google Chat, Skype and Facebook were used to contact sources and conduct interviews; while YouTube and searches of TwitPic provided on-the-ground footage. These tools were being picked up by the entire newsroom, Purser tells us, not just the online team. What’s more the geography of the newsroom (the online desk is right next to the studio floor, for example) helped grow the story across platforms, she adds.
Macguire describes how some of the first video footage of the disaster was sent back to London by a Reuters’ videographer thanks to a “friendly embassy” in Port au Prince with an internet connection.
Helping to find the missing
Online news coverage and multimedia from Haiti has been used to locate missing persons by relatives. CNN in particular is using its citizen journalism site iReport to help connect people with family, friends and loved ones in Haiti.
An ‘assignment’ on the iReport site asks users to submit photos of missing people, including their last name, first name, age, city and any other significant details. So far, 6,753 iReports have been sent in for this assignment.
“We are also in the process of integrating incoming e-mails, phone calls to CNN and tweets to the #haitimissing hashtag,” a CNN spokesman said – helping individuals conduct a wider search for information about missing loved ones.
“Since the earthquake hit, the Impact Your World page has had an increase of 7,545 per cent in page views over the previous week. The site lists opportunities to donate via phone, text and website, with special sections devoted to texting and international currencies.”
Social media coverage and real-time tools Digiphile blog has a great round-up of this, but Twitter lists have been used extensively by news organisations to group together twitters and correspondents on-the-ground in Haiti.
Elsewhere the New York Times is bolstering its main news channel coverage of Haiti by using its The Lede blog to provide rolling coverage. The blog is updating with links to reports from other news sources as well as the Times’ own coverage and has posts filed under different days stretching back to when the earthquake occurred. The aggregation of multimedia reports on the disaster available on the site’s homepage has been replicated through a Facebook page posting updates on the situation in Haiti.
In a city without electricity, with no functioning newspapers, no TV signals, no telephone lines, and cellular service so spotty that it is hardly service at all, radio stations in Haiti have become the lifeline of news about the living and dead.
(…) The station operates on two diesel generators and owner Mario Vian’s promise not to stop.
Of these, 131 have been used on air or online by CNN, after producers have carried out verification checks.
It is apparent that the reason for this astonishing increase in iReports is because of the strong views felt towards this specific case. Likewise during the election of Barack Obama CNN also saw an increase in iReports.
Starting with Twitter again, Mayhew has set up the @RebuildHouston channel to update on the recovery efforts in the Galveston and Houston area. He’ll also be posting longer reports, videos and photos to CNN’s iReport site.
“I’m leaving New Orleans as part of a two person crew who has a van that is “locked and loaded” (my associate’s term) and should be arriving in Houston on Monday morning. We have stockpiled food, tools and we have an EVDO-enabled laptop with a digital camera (that can shoot vid as well,” writes Mayhew on iReport.
Mayhew hopes local journalists will get involved with his coverage, creating a ‘collaborative journalism’ project.
Digg is working with CNN’s citizen journalism site iReport to allow users of the social bookmarking site to pose questions to members of the Democrat and Republican conventions taking place in the US over the next two weeks.
The Digg Dialogg feature, which will be used for the first time at the conventions, lets users submit text or video questions to be put to a particular interviewee. These are then ranked by other Digg users with the top 10 posed to the subject during a live interview.
According to a release from CNN, the news organisation broke the one billion barrier for page views on its politics site, which was launched last September; while its blog, the CNN Political Ticker, recorded its highest ever traffic on August 22 with more than 2.7 milion page views – driven by the announcement of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s running mate.
Two years since its launch and CNN’s iReport has received 175,000 videos and photos on news topics from users.
According to a press release from CNN, 125,000 of these submissions were made in the second year of the project.
The user-generated content initiative attracts an average of almost 15,000 reports a month.
In February this year iReport launched its own website, which now has 85,000 registered users and, according to Nielsen Online figures, attracts 2.3 million unique users each month and generates 7.1 million page views a month.
The scheme has become ‘an exceptionally powerful newsgathering tool for the network’ and submissions and iReporters have been featured across CNN’s broadcast and online platforms, the company said.
“Sometimes the iReports we receive are first images of breaking news and often exhibit powerful points of view on issues or news events. But every day our iReporters show an enthusiasm for and pride in the community they have created,” said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services.