CNN launched I-Reports just over a year ago in August, 2006. A press release announced the new citizen journalism initiative with:
With the explosion of cell phone and digital cameras enabling people to capture powerful images of interesting news events, CNN today expanded its ability to showcase such material with the launch of "I-Report." An I-Report allows a CNN viewer who captures compelling content with a personal cell phone, camera or other device to be a part of telling the world what is happening where they are through the unsurpassed reach of CNN.
In a August 21, 2007 press release, CNN congratulated it's i-Reporters for their contributions. Below is an excerpt:
When CNN first invited its global audience to submit their own pictures and video of the news of the day via cell phones, cameras and other devices, the first i-Reports offered included a photograph of bomb damage in Israel, a portrait of a U.S. soldier in Iraq and an image of a squirrel coping with a heat wave in the U.S. Midwest.
One year later, CNN’s i-Report has garnered more than 50,000 submissions from 189 countries and territories around the world, ranging from compelling to light-hearted to tragic to amazing. CNN’s citizen journalism initiative now pulls in an average of about 7,000 i-Reports each month.
“With i-Report, CNN tapped into the needs and desires of its audience to express a deeper connection to the news they get from our networks and services each and every day,” said Susan M. Bunda, executive vice president of content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide. “Our i-Reporters have exceeded our expectations in regards to the sheer number and quality of submissions.”
Launched in August 2006, CNN’s i-Reports experienced tremendous growth within the first few months as both on-air and online audiences found a new way to express themselves and to share their own observations about CNN news coverage and events around the world. Hundreds submitted i-Reports after Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin died in September 2006. Later that month, when a coup in Thailand attempted to halt the flow of information with the shutdown of the national media, i-Reports ensured that photographs and text were seen by the rest of the world.
CNN’s i-Report created a remarkable impression upon viewers on the morning of the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy in April, particularly when graduate student Jamal Albarghouti captured dramatic video on his cell phone. CNN received about 420 submissions within 24 hours of the incident, and more than 600 in total.
More recently, users shared their video, images and thoughts after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, Aug. 1. To date, CNN has received more than 600 i-Reports related to that incident.
Viewers submit i-Report material through a “Send Your i-Report” link at CNN.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submitted material undergoes the same extensive vetting process CNN employs for all content that goes on air or online.
Of course, a year ago, not everyone thought that i-Reports would be a success.
Other networks have since decided that user generated content has potential and have started their own initiatives.
To celebrate i-Reports first anniversary, Anderson Cooper filed a report that's available online reviewing how far this concept has come over the last year and where CNN is hoping to take it in the future.
Stare into this journalist eyes and then take your best guess.
Can you name this CNN journalist?
Let us know who you think this journalist is in the comments. Other than bragging rights, there are no prizes for being right, but we won't throw anything at you if you're wrong, either. The identity of the Mystery Journalist will be revealed in Sunday night's post.