Get the Right Tools to Be a Good iReporter

By Gerard Braud 

{Editor’s note: In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 iReporters. This is part of a series of articles about how you can be a good iReporter and how to make CNN iReports a vital part of your crisis communication and media relations strategy.}

IReport Voting pageAs you read this, please be so kind as to also click this link to vote for me as CNN’s iReporter of the Year…  I’m one of 36 finalists and your 30 seconds of support is greatly appreciated.

As an iReport Evangelist, my favorite 2 iReport tools are my iPhone and my iPad. These are my favorite crisis communications tools as well.

You are welcome to use any brand of phone or tablet you like, as long as you can

1) Take video of yourself with it

2) Upload that video to the Internet.

Getting to the internet means you either need a reliable Wi-Fi signal or a good G3 or G4 signal on your device.

Raw video, also known in the news business as B-roll, is one type of image you can send to iReports. They also accept still photos. However, my favorite approach is to do a traditional television news style reporter standup. Standup is the TV term for the reporter walking and talking on camera.

Tropical Storm Lee iReportSome early generations of smart phones only allow you to use your phone screen as a video view-finder while you take a picture or video of something in front of you. Ideally, you want a smart phone or tablet that has a two-way camera — the one that allows you to hold your tablet or phone at arms length while you see yourself on the screen.

Your goal in the standup should be to make it short – usually 38 seconds. The short length makes it easy and fast to upload. Sometimes longer videos will not upload because of a lack of bandwidth, especially during a crisis or during bad weather. When doing a standup, your goal should also be to walk, talk and provide information in a quotable nugget, just as you will learn if you have ever been through a media training class. Because of this technology and demand, I’ve changed the way I teach media training classes to teach spokespeople how to walk and talk and deliver great information in a quick nugget. As you deliver your standup, you must also speak in a conversational tone and not in a stiff, rehearsed sounding voice.

Because my goal is to convert my iReports into Live interviews, I also have the right software. Skype on my iPhone and iPad, connected to the web, becomes my source for broadcasting Live. This means that you need to set up a Skype account on a clear sunny day, before you ever actually need it. Just like any other technology, you have to practice using it in order to get it right when you need it quickly in a crisis.

When I report Live for CNN, I’m asked to call one of their many Skype numbers. When I report Live for The Weather Channel, they phone my Skype number.

Gerard Braud Media Training and Crisis Communication with IPad IPhoneThe iPad is my favorite out of my 2 devices, because I love the size of the screen and the quality of the camera. However, it is heavier and harder to hold. Some iPad cases make it easier. Several companies also make iPad tripod devices. While a tripod provides a steady image, the downside is that you are unable to walk and talk to tell your story. In rainy conditions, the iPhone is easier to keep dry. You can use a baggie with a hole cut in it for the camera.

In our next article, you will learn what types of stories get the best attention.

If you have questions, tweet me @gbraud or send an e-mail to



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