As promised, CNN has just launched iReport.com in beta, a site dedicated to “unfiltered, uncensored user-powered news.” You can browse submitted content by a variety of filters: most viewed, highest rated, what’s aired on CNN and “newsiest” — a calculation that combines freshness, popularity, activity and ratings. You can also browse the iReporters, which includes a section of “superstars” who consistently submit high-rated and popular content. And if anyone needs any added motivation to submit content, a box in the upper left of the site updates the total number of submitted iReports along with how many have appeared on CNN this month (915). And coming soon: a map mashup of where iReports have been submitted.
So, is this stuff pre-screened? “Don’t kid yourselves,” reads the iReport blog. “This content is not pre-vetted or pre-read by CNN. This is your platform. In some journalisitic circles, this is considered disruptive, even controversial! But we know the news universe is changing.” This is likely the reason why you don’t see a big CNN logo across the top of the site — the brand and site separation allows more flexibility.
All in all, I like the site. CNN has built up quite the following (due to a substantial on-air investment) since it launched iReport a year and a half ago, and this is a natural extension. Keep in mind it’s not a YouTube competitor — this is a different play that’s wrapped around a big-time news brand. By creating a separate site with unedited content, they’re able to scale up submissions to a grander scale while creating an environment to see unedited “news” around the world. And the uncensored element helps draw in an audience. But of course, that’s just my opinion. What do you think…?