In honor of the fifth anniversay of CNN iReport, the 24-hour cable news organization announced that they will be revamping the tool into a “social network for news”, according to Participation Director of CNN Digital, Lila King. “Instead a (network) built around your friends, it’s built around sources and topics you care about and trust,” she told Beet.tv. The redesign is coming this fall.
On August 1, 2006 CNN launched a citizen journalism tool they called “CNN Exchange,” for “comprehensive user-generated content destination that features user-submitted video, audio, articles and graphics and also allows users to interact directly with the site’s news reports, commentaries and polls.” Five years later the service now boasts “900,000 people worldwide who share stories and images of the things that matter to them,” according to King.
CNN originally launched the site after a massive tsunami from the Indian Ocean forced news networks to ask people to send in footage via snail mail. Five years later, video uploading sites like YouTube have proven that it’s a lot easier to upload a video to the web than ever before. As 4G cell networks take over the airwaves, it will be even easier to upload video in real-time from a smartphone. The question is, will CNN’s updated iReport be able to make a compelling case for people to submit breaking content to them as supposed to just Twitter or Facebook?
Beth Alice, an longtime iReporter, organizing a meetup today for the anniversary in NYC answered some questions about her experiences as an iReporter:
Why do you use iReport?
Well I use ireport to say something that matters to me.
I use ireport only when I feel the need or perhaps there’s an assignment.
What benefit does it serve you?
Honestly I enjoy doing ireports. Also it gives me a sense of independence to speak out, to say what I think matters.
What are some general characteristics you’ve seen are similar among iReporters as a group?
I think ireporters tend to be very curious & dedicated people. We all strive to be vetted (put on CNN). It feels good to see your work on a major news station.
Do you feel your voice is heard what you upload content?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depend on if it gets vetted.
Has your content ever been featured on TV?
Yes! I’ve had almost 60 ireports vetted & I would have to tell you specifically which ones were. I have to look back at them. And some I don’t know if they were or weren’t. Cnn doesn’t always tell you.