As reported a couple days ago by a number of sources, CNN today unveiled their user-powered news site iReport.com. In their own words, iReport is a site for “uncensored, user-powered news.” CNN eliminates the censoring and filtering process, and lets share any video that is news-worthy in their minds — along with their own ones displayed with an “On CNN” stamp. The video sharing site, in short, aims to be the grassroots YouTube for news.
Every video posted on the site is termed an “iReport,” and consists of the standard title, description, rating, and tags. Also heavily inspired by YouTube are the sections for the Latest, Highest Rated, Most Viewed, and Most Commented videos of the lot. A section on the homepage outlines the top stories of the day and can act as “assignment” ideas for users looking for one. Here’s a great example of a user-submitted video of last year’s New York City steam explosion (for some reason, either embedding is not allowed or I just couldn’t find the code.)
The site is being promoted widely on CNN’s own (and vice-versa), so you can pretty much automatically expect a grass-roots community to form in a few months. Already, there is a section for “iReporters” that outlines the “superstars” of the site and a few discussions forming in the comment sections of videos.
A little too late maybe, but I think this is a step in the right direction by CNN. As opposed to incorporating some of the new concepts of Web 2.0 into their own site and have to filter through the content submitted by users, they’ve looked in the other direction and created a site of its own for that purpose to complement their mission to report news. It not only adds to their brand, but if successful, can be an additional revenue stream for them. Of course, given that they share it with their users.