Friday, March 30, 2007
James Brierton: An I-Reporter profile

Darfur conference

Weather reporting

High school quiz

Here at team I-Report, there are times when we are simply blown away by what we find in the I-Report queue. Three examples of this have been provided by repeat I-Reporter James Brierton. Not only does he attend Smithtown High School East in Smithtown, New York, the alma mater of CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, but he has also developed O’Brien’s same passion for journalism.

The roving I-Reporter first caught our attention in January with a report from his high school, with “person-on-the-street” interviews of students and faculty to test their knowledge of the world around them. He signed off with “James Brierton, I-Report for CNN,” and a beautiful friendship was born.

When ice storms hit Nesconset, New York on Valentine’s Day, 16-year-old Brierton knew what to do: he grabbed his camera and did what those of us here at CNN call a “look-live,” reporting on the situation there as they faced the first major winter storm of the season. CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf was very impressed when we ran his report on the air: “There's no question we're going to hear from him in the future. He's a good one.”

Wolf turned out to be right on the money. We heard from him again just a few days ago. Brierton traveled to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, to cover the Darfur Awareness Conference in depth. Brierton did a great job showing us what took place at the conference as members of Congress and a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda spoke on how to solve the crisis in the Sudan.

I-Reporters like Brierton represent the best of what I-Report can offer. We’ve seen many others like him report on the news in their communities, and here’s hoping that more of you will do the same. With I-Report, you’re no longer just “watching” or “reading” CNN, you’re participating in the process of news-gathering. So get out there with your cameras and find the news in your area. Show us what I-Reporters can do.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
What's your hobby?
Some people collect stamps, others mountain bike and still others play with trains. There’s a lot of ways to spend your spare time. What’s your favorite?

Jim Graham of Annapolis, Maryland, is a self-described “aspiring underwater photographer.” A Petty Officer 1st Class in the Navy, he teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy. And yet, he still finds time to dive. He’s been doing so since 1998 and prefers the closed-circuit rebreathing technique, which makes use of a filter to clean the air beyond using a standard SCUBA storage tank.

One of his dearest memories is of hearing singing whales. He says he could feel the sound wrapping around him and moving through the water. In late August 2005, he took a trip to the Cayman Islands and encountered a sea sponge about six feet wide. On other trips he has encountered sharks, swam through schools of fish and passed right by sea turtles.

“If you've never done it before you should definitely give it a try,” Graham said of diving. “It's a whole new world out there."

What’s your passion? Use your photos and video to take us there with you. Below, you'll find a list of some of our favorite hobbies over at Team I-Report:
  • Tyson Wheatley: "I like to collect rock concert ticket stubs -- particularly ones I've been to. I have about a hundred of them, and keep them in a shoe box. My favorite ticket stub is from a 2001 Radiohead show at Stone Mountain, Georgia."
  • Meryl Page: "I’m a country girl, so my top three favorite hobbies utilize the elements of the planet: earth, water and air. I love mountain climbing –- my goal is to hike the largest ranges on every continent; snorkeling –- with penguins and exotic fish in the South Pacific or wherever the current takes me; and hang-gliding -- whenever I can catch a good thermal. I practice all three as often as possible in locations around the globe."
  • Nicole Saidi: "My last real hobby was high school marching band (yikes), but I’ve been known to collect travel brochures and other mementos. I need physical reminders of trips. I also hesitate to share the fact that I collect animal-printed things. It started with a couple shirts and a hair clip and progressed to hats, scarves, gloves, shelving, fuzzy dice, pillowcases, bedspreads, shoes, socks, purses, luggage … the list goes on and on."
Hoosiers flooding
Weather definitely provides an equal opportunity for anyone to become a CNN I-Reporter.

After rain inundated east and central Indiana late last week, some of the best images of the flooding were captured by residents in Albany and Noblesville. As the surplus of liquid sunshine forced the White and Mississinewa Rivers to overflow their banks, I-Reporters dodged the puddles and most of the muck to send us some great shots.
Check out their camera work in the Hoosiers flooding gallery.
And you might want to add something to your inclement weather kit -- if you keep one in your car. Next to the rain slicker, umbrella and galoshes, keep your camera handy -- you never know when Mother Nature might turn you into our next I-Reporter.
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