iReport was CNN's citizen journalism initiative that allowed people from around the globe to contribute pictures and video of breaking news stories. It was similar to Wikinews in that it allowed, and encouraged, ordinary citizens to submit stories, photos and videos related to news of any sort. This ranged from breaking news to a story that a person believed is newsworthy. Submissions were not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they were posted.[1] Stories that were verified were approved for use on all of CNN's platforms. The program was launched on August 2, 2006[2] 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.

"i report for CNN" T-shirt.
A T-shirt sent to some iReport contributors

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. The success of iReport was 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.[3] CNN producers also regularly provided "assignments", for possible inclusion in upcoming coverage.[4]

In January 2015, iReport was moved from direct access on the website with a dramatic reduction in the number of views for stories.[5] Many of the original senior staff members have moved or departed. In November 2015, CNN officially retired iReport and announced plans to supersede the website with a hashtag, #CNNiReport, through which users can submit news on social media sites including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. [6]

Notable eventsEdit

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.[7]

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.

In 2008, iReport generated controversy for a false report about Steve Jobs' health, which caused Apple's stock to temporarily drop.[8][9] The hoax was attributed to users of the web forum 4chan.[10][11]

CNN iReport AwardsEdit

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.[12]


In January 2008 CNN acquired and for $750,000.[13] A beta version of the site launched on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. The site, which had its complete launch in March 2008, allowed users to submit media and have it instantly appear on the site. CNN Producers would go through the online submission and select reports for possible airing on the CNN television networks, and other CNN platforms. The site also allowed iReporters to contact each other. The site functioned similar to YouTube and popular social.

New York Times buzzwordEdit

The New York Times described the word "I-reporter" as one of 2007's buzzwords: a word which endured long enough to find a place in the national conversation.[14]


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,, and


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.[15]

CNN has also been criticized by insufficiently distinguishing iReport stories from its own output. There were 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,[16] and several stories regarding Apple Computer that significantly influenced its stock price.[17]

An iReport entry from 2009 which was never vetted by CNN ended up being part of the infamous Steele dossier years later. [18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About CNN iReport". CNN. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  2. ^ "I-Report turns one year old". CNN. 2007-08-02. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  3. ^ "I-Report for the New Year". CNN. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  4. ^ "CNN iReport FAQ/Help". CNN. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  5. ^ Zdanowicz, Christina (15 March 2011). "Meet the million: 999,999 iReporters + you!". CNN iReport Blog. CNN. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  6. ^ Bilton, Ricardo (11 November 2015). "Defeated by social media, CNN overhauls iReport". DigiDay. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Student shot video of campus shooting". CNN. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  8. ^ Kafka, Peter (3 October 2008). "SEC Investigating Fraudulent Steve Jobs Heart Attack Report". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  9. ^ Blodget, Henry (3 October 2008). "Apple Denies Steve Jobs Heart Attack Report: "It Is Not True"". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  10. ^ Sandoval, Greg (October 4, 2008). "Who's to blame for spreading phony Jobs story?". CNet News. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  11. ^ Cheng, Jacqui (October 3, 2008). "Friday Apple links: Steve Jobs still not dead edition". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  12. ^ "CNN iReport Awards".
  13. ^ Shea, Danny (18 January 2008). "CNN Shells Out $750K For Domain". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  14. ^ Barrett, Grant (2007-12-23). "All We Are Saying". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  15. ^ "iReport Terms of Use Domain". CNN. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  16. ^ Plait, Phil (28 May 2014). "No, an Asteroid Is Not Going to Wipe Out All Life on Earth in 2041" – via Slate.
  17. ^ Schiffman, Betsy (2008-10-03). "'Citizen Journalist' Could Face Prison for Fake Jobs Story".
  18. ^ Mikeleonis, Lukas (2019-03-16). "Old CNN website was source of unvetted 'random' info used by author of anti-Trump dossier, docs reveal".

External linksEdit