Citizen Journalists Flood CNN iReport

Will the ongoing election protests in Iran be seen as a watershed moment in citizen journalism? We’ve written about how YouTube (s GOOG) has played a big role in this issue, and now CNN (s TWX) has shared that the events in Iran have driven a spike in use of its citizen journalism site, iReport.

According to CNN, from June 13 to June 17, 1,600 citizen-produced reports from Iran were filed to iReport, accounting for more than 50 percent of the total submissions. Additionally, more than 3,000 new members were added to iReport over that time, compared with the 1,135 added from June 6 to 10.

MediaWeek reports that only 56 of those iReports have been approved for use online or on-air, since the issue is so sensitive and stories must be vetted.

This surge in citizen journalism is just the beginning, as social and new media tools become more mainstream. As we learned this week, the State Department urged Twitter to reschedule maintenance to keep that line of communication open, and Facebook made its entire site available in Persian. First-person accounts will increasingly have live mobile videocasting as services like Qik and Kyte get better and more phones are equipped with video capabilities, information will find ways through the cracks in government clampdowns.