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.)
As 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.
Over the next few days you will learn the background story of how I was selected by CNN. If you come back to this blog daily, you will learn secrets about how and why you should also be crazy about iReports and using smart phones and tablets to broadcast to the world.
CNN is recognizing me for a series of reports I filed about Hurricane Isaac 2012.
With 7 feet of floodwater surrounding my home and no electricity for 5 days during Hurricane Isaac, I was able to broadcast live to CNN using only my iPhone, G3 and Skype. Amid the rain, heat, waves, snakes, alligators, debris and dead animal carcasses, I kept broadcasting.
Because of the reports I filed from August 26-September 2, 2012, CNN producers chose my reports out of all the reports filed by 11,000 iReporters in 2012, to be recognized for continuing coverage of breaking news. The reports were seen both on the CNN iReport website and they were broadcasted by CNN and HLN to viewers around the world.
These reports took viewers into places that even CNN news crews couldn’t reach with their million dollar satellite trucks and $60,000 HD cameras.
Hopefully the experiences you will read about here will help you understand why you should be a part of iReports. You will also learn step-by-step how to do what I do.
I have been a CNN iReport evangelist since the program began. During 4 major weather events my iReports have been broadcast on CNN and on multiple occasions have lead to live broadcasts.
The first time was when I witnessed a funnel cloud during Hurricane Gilbert. I simply uploaded a short iReport with no narration to CNN. CNN showed it, then my phone rang. A friend in California called to warn me there were tornadoes near me and he had just seen it on CNN. Ha. Funny how that worked.
On December 11, 2010 we had an unusual 5-inch snow fall in the town I live in, near New Orleans. I had not sent out Christmas cards yet, so with my point and shoot camera I made a short news video about the snow, then wished everyone Merry Christmas. I uploaded the video to iReports. Their producers vetted the report and confirmed it was real. They edited off my Christmas greeting, then used the rest of the video all day long to run before every weather report. That was really cool.
CNN asked me to do a live report via Skype, but that got canceled because of breaking news. That was the day the body of Caylee Anthony was found in the woods, leading to the murder trial of the child’s mother, Casey Anthony.
In August of 2011, Tropical Storm Lee came through New Orleans and my little town of Mandeville, LA. A week before, I had moved into a new house on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The storm surge filled my yard with 5 feet of water. Using my iPad and WiFi, I shot a 90 second news report, then uploaded it to iReports. Within minutes, producers were asking me to do live reports. With an iPad as my broadcast camera and WiFi as my broadcast channel, I was on the air for 2 days.
These 3 events set the stage for Hurricane Isaac in August 2012 and the series of reports for which I was nominated. You will learn more details in our next article.