CNN announced the nominations for its first awards programme to honour citizen reporters and participatory journalists, the iReport Awards, today.
CNN’s iReport Awards, to be held in early March, will be given to CNN iReporters who have produced “the best examples of participatory journalism in 2010.” iReport is CNN’s citizen journalism website which encourages users to submit self-created news stories. Stories that appear on the site are unedited or screened by CNN although some are featured in the news networks’ broadcasts.
The awards are divided into six categories, Breaking News, Original Reporting, Compelling Imagery (photos or video), Commentary, Personal Story, and Interview.
Meredith Artley, managing editor and vice president of CNN.com said, “The collaborative relationship that we have with our iReporters is one of the unique strengths of CNN, and in many ways represents the future of storytelling [...] These awards are designed to celebrate those outstanding efforts.”
For the awards CNN staffers sieved through the 150,000 iReports that the news network received in 2010 and selected five iReports for each category.
Nominations this year include some of the first images of the Deepwater Horizon fire, reported by Capt1000, Eyjafjallajökull volcano footage recorded by NickMutton and a personal account of escaping Vietnam by 123Amerasian.
This short list will be adjudicated on by a panel of CNN judges which will include Errol Barnett, anchor and correspondent, Rachel Campos Duffy, columnist with Parentdish.com, Ze Frank CEO of Star.me, Dave Isay founder of StoryCorps, Laura Brunow Miner the founder of Pictorymag.com, Shane Smith the president/co-founder of VICE, and Tim Shey president/co-founder of Next News Network.
While this marks ‘a coming of age,’ of sorts, for user-generated news content it is not the first time that citizen journalists have been recognised by the main-stream media. In February 2010 the inaugural video category in the prestigious George Polk Awards was given to the then anonymous videographer who recorded the death of Neda Aghan-Soltan, a Iranian student, during the Election protests in in Iran in June 2009.
All nominated videos will also be featured on CNN’s news broadcasts in the run up to the results.