Solving the Lack of Public Restrooms in New York City
By Anthony Esguerra
In my social-first video, I explore the issue of the lack of public restrooms in New York City and how a successful solution in Germany could also work in American cities like New York. I have studied the Open Restroom Movement by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, an initiative that involves public and private entities and individuals opening up their restrooms for anyone who urgently needs it. This solution is called “nette toilet,” which translates to “nice toilette” scheme in Germany that started in a small city and has now expanded to at least 240 cities across Germany and Switzerland.
Why this platform
Over the years, Facebook and Instagram prioritized videos on users' feeds in an attempt to catch up with TikTok. As a result, Facebook now has a section in the timeline that displays Facebook Reels, its version of vertical video.
I chose to create a vertical video format, as it is an ideal medium for social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where users are increasingly engaging with video content on their mobile devices. The visual medium allowed me to convey complex ideas and data in a concise and engaging manner, while also making the content easily shareable.
Additionally, the story in vertical format can be cross-posted to YouTube, which is also making a bet on short vertical formats. To compete with TikTok, YouTube is enticing more creators by creating a 45% revenue sharing scheme.
Creating a short, two-minute video that covers a complex topic like solving the lack of public restrooms in New York City was challenging. To make the video engaging and informative, I had to focus on the most important points and convey them in a clear and concise manner. As a result, I only have several lines to discuss the four qualities that make it a solutions story. What I cannot say in the voiceover is passed on to the visual element to help the audience digest more points. In telling this story, I immersed myself in the story as much as I can. I have multiple appearances in the story. As a result, the video feels more personal rather than authoritative. People are naturally drawn to faces and we see that vloggers show their faces multiple times in a single video. I think journalists should do the same.
Opportunities and challenges
The visual medium of the video presented an opportunity to convey information in a more engaging way than traditional text-based articles. However, condensing a complex story into a short video was challenging. I had to carefully choose the most important information to include, while also keeping the content engaging and visually interesting.
Additionally, the format of the video was designed for social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where users have short attention spans and are looking for easily digestible content.
I believe that the social-first video format is an effective way to convey important information in an engaging and easily shareable way, and I hope that my video will help raise awareness about the lack of public restrooms in New York City and potential solutions to address this issue.
About Anthony Esguerra
Anthony Esguerra is a Filipino multimedia journalist and an aspiring journalism innovator. He founded Factual, an independent newsroom based on Facebook Messenger in the Philippines. He was most recently Southeast Asia Reporter for VICE and VICE World News and is a stringer for the Voice of America. Anthony is deeply committed to bridging the gap between newsrooms and audiences, with a focus on news product development. He considers himself a connoisseur of choral music.