Almost 600,000 followers on twitter, more than 7 million clicks on CNN iReport, 5,000 likes on Facebook! These are just a few staggering numbers reflecting the successful career of a young freelance journalist from San Diego, California. Her name is Chris Morrow, and she committed herself to covering the world's top news on many different websites. "Instead of covering a story locally, I choose to do this globally," she says. But if you think all she does is covering our everyday world, think again. A few years ago she won an award for "Best Film" at the San Diego Film Festival, for covering stories of the artist Wyland Earthday and even headed to Cannes for her short film "Life in Zona Norte."
Many of her iReport colleagues love Chris for her honesty, open mindedness and for the fact that she shoots, writes and produces her stories and videos all herself, but still manages to reinvent herself from time to time. She truly is an inspiration to all of us," Kate Bauer said in an interview with our own Steven Pers. "When I first saw her videos on iReport, I noticed the diversity in her style of reporting. She is covering very crucial topics, but in somehow manages to combine it with her everyday life. More people should check out her reports, it's quite motivating."
But only a few months ago, she was accused of botting her reports, by buying clicks that would improve her statistics and later enable her to get free press passes to popular events all over the country. The allegations later turned out to be wrong and made up by a group of her former colleagues who got together to tarnish her good reputation and therefore put themselves in the spotlight. After it became clear that the whole thing was made up, she got back on her feet and started a huge comeback. The iReport community quickly turned away from the group that tried to break everything she had worked for and now focused once again on her undeniable talent to cover topics in her own incomparable way.
But it's not just her colleagues who deeply admire her work, it's also the big players in the business, such as Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Jay Leno. She was even featured in a CNN iReport commercial. After all these successes throughout her career, she has gained huge popularity in the world of citizen journalism. A few months ago we talked to Angela Millsbury from "GlobeNews". She told us how she launched her own news website in 2006 and why this new style of reporting and covering the news has become so important.
"The way people think about journalism and covering different kinds of stories has changed?over the last 10 years. Nowadays everybody has a smartphone, but it's not just a phone anymore. It's a TV, a computer, a camera and much more, all in one device. Not too long ago people had to rely on the big news agencies for important information, today it's the other way around," she said. ?"Just think about it, people now have the ability to present their point of view on crucial issues to the rest of the world. In that way we're not being fooled by news reporters anymore. We hear many people talking about their topics of interest and that creates freedom."
Just like Angela Millsbury, we think that Chris Morrow has contributed quite a lot to the modern day news business. The spirit of grabbing a mic and a camera and just to go out there to ask people how they feel about politics, sports, gossip and other topics, truly defines our modern day society, where everybody can tell his side of the story and break the news.