Last night House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered questions about Congress, the economy, and marijuana legalization–posed not by journalists and pundits, but by contributors to online communities and The interview is one of the ways CNN is adding the “voice of real people on the ground” to their election coverage, according to Senior Producer Lila King.

CNN’s user-generated news site is at the center of that initiative, and voters at the convention or watching from home are sharing their reactions to the DNC with photo, video, and text. King spoke to me about iReport from Atlanta via Skype on Tuesday.

iReport, which celebrated its two-year anniversary August 20, saw most of its growth in its second year. In April 2007 iReport was propelled to center stage when a Virgina Tech grad student contributed cell phone footage of the shootings to the site, and over the last year iReport has seen a 176 percent rise in video and photo contributions and received 125,000 of its total 175,000 submissions.

Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer