Monday, June 25, 2012

Second CNN iReport Awards: Once the Glitter Settles

Second CNN iReport Awards: Once the Glitter Settles


I missed the Pride Parade in NYC this year because I spent the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, at the CNN i-Report Awards. As an i-reporter myself and as a guest of fellow i-reporter Kurt Weston--an award-winning photographer (and subject of Journeys Through Darkness), whose story was nominate (and won) the Personal Story category--I found myself, together with the others in our group, at the center of Central News Network...
Atlanta, Georgia. Photo Copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald
Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald.


Thinking back at this experience, I try to figure out what part of it was the most fabulous, fantastic and phenomenal:
CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald


CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald

CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald

* Seeing Kurt, Terry and Kurt's guide dog, Ambrose, again?
* Meeting other i-reporters and i-report producers I sometimes come in touch with when my stories are about to be vetted by CNN?
* Learning more about CNN iReport's own backstory?
* Finding myself back in Atlanta after more than a decade?
* The phenomenal CNN tour?
* Having the unique chance to chat with CNN's Michael Holmes? I was humbled and honored to be able to say hello to the brave and phenomenal CNN international correspondent/anchor. It's not everyday that I get to talk to people I admire and whose shows I follow. The meeting was an enlightening experience, to say the least.
* Or maybe it was a sum of all the moments mentioned above...
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald

CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald

CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald
CNN Tour: Inside CNN Headquarters Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Alina Oswald

But once the ceremony is over, everybody's gone to chase the next braking story. Once the lights are off and the room emptied, in the silence of darkness that follows, only the glitter remains, still sparkling, if only for a brief moment. It is during this last glow that it mingles with dust and settles almost quietly on the hardwood floor.

Ambrose, Kurt Weston's guide dog, during the CNN Tour. Photo copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Ambrose, Kurt Weston's guide dog, during the CNN Tour. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Lunch with Ambrose, Kurt Weston's guide dog. Photo copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Lunch with the iReporters and Ambrose, Kurt Weston's guide dog. Photo by Alina Oswald.


What's left is the memory of the event, a memory that lives on in a parallel physical dimension, and not only. Winners place their awards on pedestals, an everlasting reminded of their achievements (and for good reason). The others are left to remember the event through its memorable moments: Michael Holmes, Kurt Weston's acceptance speech or his interview with CNN's Fredericka Whitfield, etc.
The Ceremony: Kurt Weston won Personal Story. Photo copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The Ceremony: Kurt Weston won Personal Story
CNN's Michael Holmes, hosting the 2nd CNN iReport Awards. Photo copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
CNN's Michael Holmes, hosting the 2nd CNN iReport Awards

Kurt Weston's acceptance speech and CNN's Michael Holmes

Kurt Weston showing off his award. Photo copyright 2012 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Kurt Weston showing off his award (almost all images in this post are iPhone images)


When all is said and done, once the glitter settles, these memorable moments remind us of the immense importance of the event, of the Second CNN iReport Awards... and allow us to continue counting.

Hope you enjoy the read and images, and that you the stories of CNN iReport Award winners will inspire you.

As always, thanks for stopping by,
Alina Oswald
Writer/Photographer
Author of Journeys Through Darkness: A Biography of AIDS