Viability of New York City’s Safe-Use Sites
By Bharbi Hazarika
This social-second story explores the viability of New York City's safe-use sites, which are supervised drug-injection centers that protect users from overdosing. New York City has two such sites, and they are the first in the U.S. An Instagram carousel of pictures with graphics and text summarizes key reporting from other news sites and includes some secondary findings from internet research. The images were provided by the center upon request.
Why this platform
Instagram’s interface can be a fitting medium for visually-driven and human-interest stories. Since this story dealt with addiction, Instagram felt best-suited. Instagram’s carousel post feature allows users to share multiple images or videos in a single post that viewers can swipe through. This feature is particularly useful for sharing a story with multiple parts, as it allows for a more in-depth and comprehensive narrative to be shared in a single post. By using the carousel post feature, I could also include quotes from academic studies and stakeholders in the story, adding further depth and credibility to the report. I used Canva to design the posts and edit them before uploading it on the platform.
With a carousel post feature on Instagram, a solutions journalism reporter can showcase multiple angles of a story, highlighting and distinctly reporting the four aspects of solutions journalism. Using Instagram's carousel post also allows for interactive storytelling, as users can swipe through the images or videos at their own pace, giving them a sense of control over the story. This can help to increase engagement and allow for a deeper connection to the story.
A carousel post can quickly become disjointed if not planned properly. It is important for the reporter to create a clear narrative structure for the post that allows the audience to follow the story easily. Instagram has specific technical requirements for carousel posts, such as image and video size limitations. It is important for the reporter to ensure that all content fits these requirements to avoid technical issues.
Moreover, the carousel feature allows the user to add only 10 images to each post, which means the reporter must plan accordingly. While visuals are key to keeping the audience engaged, text is also important for providing context and further information about the story. The solutions journalism reporter must strike a balance between visuals and text to create a well-rounded and informative Instagram story.
While doing a social-second story on Instagram, reporters should use the platform's visual features to their advantage. That includes using high-quality images and videos that are relevant to the story, as well as creating visually appealing graphics and infographics to provide additional context. Those visuals not only help to capture the audience's attention but also allow for a more immersive and engaging storytelling experience.
Other best practices include using clear and concise language and relevant hashtags, and engaging with the audience through comments and direct messages. Additionally, journalists should make sure to give credit where it is due, including other journalists or publications that a social-second story draws material from. Transparency and ethics matter regardless, but on social media, those practices are crucial to maintaining audience trust.
About Bharbi Hazarika
Bharbi is a multimedia storyteller, interested in audience development and content strategy. She recently finished interning at The Wall Street Journal, where she worked on the digital platforms desk. Previously, she worked for CNN as a part-time editorial producer. She was also part of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute’s 2021 cohort. Born and raised in Assam, India, she loves reading, cooking, and being a cat mom.