|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (February 2014)|
iReport is CNN's citizen journalism initiative that allows people from around the globe to contribute pictures and video of breaking news stories. It is similar to Wikinews in that it allows, and encourages, regular citizens to submit stories, photos and videos related to news of any sort. This can range from breaking news to a story that a person believes is newsworthy. Submissions are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post. Stories that are verified are approved for use on all of CNN's platforms. The program was launched on August 2, 2006 to take advantage of the newsgathering capabilities of citizens at the scene of notable events. iReport grew out of another related program: CNN's Fan Zone, which allowed viewers to contribute pictures and video from the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
The tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 7 July 2005 London bombings gave citizen journalists at the scene the opportunity to report on the events as they experienced them. Pictures from both were difficult to obtain in the moments after each tragedy. Broadcast news outlets, depending on agency or bureau video, were fortunate to receive submissions from people on the scene. Developing this format became a necessity for cable and network news shows.
As of January 2012, there were more than a million registered iReport members and each day more people submit their stories to be verified. The success of iReport has been utilized for specific programs, like the 2007 New Year's Eve coverage featuring iParty in which viewers' photos of their celebrations were shown on television. CNN producers also regularly provide "assignments," for possible inclusion in upcoming coverage.
Although iReport proved popular from its inception, one event in particular catapulted such citizen journalism onto the international stage. On April 16, 2007, video submitted by graduate student Jamal Albarghouti captured the sounds of gunfire during the Virginia Tech massacre. CNN paid Albarghouti an undisclosed amount for the exclusive rights to the video he shot on his mobile phone. The immediacy of the pictures demonstrated the potential for such content.
On August 1, 2007, many of the earliest pictures and eyewitness accounts of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota were submitted to iReport.
Other instances where CNN iReport was being blown up with submissions are during Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombing. Although many citizen journalists have submitted articles to the site, many of them were not credible. This started much controversy for the webpage regarding ethical beliefs.
CNN iReport Awards
In 2011, CNN held the first iReport Awards, with awards being given for seven categories: breaking news, personal story, compelling imagery, commentary, original reporting, interview, and community choice. Percy von Lipinski was honored with the best in Original reporting award. There were also five "spirit honorees." 
In January 2008 CNN acquired Ireport.com and I-report.com for $750,000. A beta version of the site launched on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. The site, which had its complete launch in March 2008, allows users to submit media and have it instantly appear on the site. CNN Producers will then go through the online submission and select reports for possible airing on the CNN television networks, CNN.com and other CNN platforms. The site also allows iReporters to contact each other. The site functions similar to YouTube and popular social networking sites.
New York Times buzzword
The popularity of CNN's iReport program has inspired a number of similar initiatives by other broadcast news organizations. Mobile application development companies independent of major news corporations have also developed apps which are similar to iReport.
CNN International aired "iReport for CNN." It was a weekly half-hour TV program showcasing iReport contributions. It was hosted by Errol Barnett. "News to Me" featured viewer-submitted content, along with other videos supplied by Blip.tv, Jumpcut.com, and Revver.com.
In the early going this site was useful as it presented the work of amateur journalists striving to present news. More recently, however, it has become something of a personal soapbox as well, a sort of venue for personal expression.
IReport and other phenomenon billed as 'citizen journalism' by corporate news networks often offer no pay to contributors including photo and video contributions. While users are granted copyright to their contributions, they often are forced to relinquish control of who uses their work and where their images and video are shown worldwide.
CNN has also been criticized by insufficiently distinguishing iReport stories from its own output. There have been several cases where hoax stories placed on that service were given credence by their apparent connection to CNN, for example a story about an impending asteroid impact, and several stories regarding Apple Computer that significantly influenced its stock price.
In May of 2012 iReport began to notice that millions of fake views were being accumulated, most notably by the highest viewed and rated iReporter Chris Morrow. After months of investigation millions of her views were removed. However Chris Morrow still claims the title of most viewed and watched ireporter.
In 2014, there was a news story that was posted on CNN iReport that was a complete hoax. A former writer for the Associated Press, Seth Borenstein came across an article posted to the site about an asteroid that was going to hit the earth. He realized there was an ethical dilemma ahead for the news station itself for allowing such a bizarre story to be published. The information did not need to be fully evaluated to find that it was a hoax but after CNN iReport posted it, the news spread fast across social media.
The published piece by CNN iReport, “Giant asteroid possibly on collision course with Earth”, started a commotion across the United States and that is when Borenstein dug deeper into the skeptical information that was right in front of him. He went straight to the experts to find out if this was true so he contacted Keith Cowing, former head asteroid researcher at NASA, and justified that it was a falsified statement.
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