Middle East attacks captured for CNN Exchange portal

Pictures and video from Lebanese and northern Israeli citizens were amongst the submissions published on CNN.com’s Exchange website during the first couple of weeks of the new “citizen journalism” operation.

CNN Exchange launched on August 1 as a one-stop input and output shop for material submitted by viewers of the news network, consisting largely of “I-Reports” – a catch-all term for user-generated snapshots, movies and other content.

Material included video from a residential apartment of a rocket attack hitting Safed, Israel, and a photo documentary from a family journeying to safety from Beirut.

Content submitted through CNN Exchange is made available for re-use by all CNN outlets and is vetted by newsroom staff. An umbrella for interactivity, the website is now soliciting views and media material on key current affairs topics like the war on terror and US policy toward Iran.

CNN partnered with YouTube video sharing rival blip.tv to allow users to upload video and audio using a web form, but the material can also be taken via email. The site also gives budding reporters tips on picture composition and setting recording levels.

“This is an opportunity to hear the very personal stories of people who know the events … and are able to share with the world,” senior vice president of CNN’s US news Susan Bunda told Reuters recently.