Feeling Welcome: The NYC Response to the Migrant Crisis
By Jesus Mesa
The United States has historically been a sought-after destination for immigrants worldwide. However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of migrants from Central and South America, which has presented challenges for local authorities in managing the influx of families entering the country. Border states like Texas have chosen to distance themselves from the responsibility of migrant treatment and have instead sent them far away, often by bus, to New York.
In contrast, New York City has embraced an open-arms policy, extending a warm welcome to migrants and offering them essential resources to facilitate their adaptation to a new life through a Navigation Center specifically designed for this purpose.
Why this platform
I wanted to use Instagram because it offers numerous options to convey my story exactly the way I envisioned it. I desired a visual and emotional narrative, and Instagram is the perfect platform to fulfill this vision. In addition, the ability to create a photo carousel allowed me to share pictures and videos, providing me with the freedom and space to tell my story in a captivating and visually appealing manner.
The key aspect of crafting an Instagram story is clarity regarding the story's goal and the intended message. Therefore, it is crucial to determine what you want to convey through your story. Instagram allows a maximum of 10 slides to present your information, providing ample space to create an engaging and visually attractive narrative.
To create the illustrations, I experimented with DALL-E, an AI picture generation model. I was intrigued by this tool due to its immense potential for creating engaging and emotionally impactful illustrations. Furthermore, one of the appealing features of DALL-E is the ability to generate images based on uploaded samples. That's precisely what I did by using a selection of illustrations from an old story I wrote back in 2021. Ultimately, I am pleased with the results as everything has a harmonious aesthetic.
Opportunities and challenges
The initial concept for this project was to create a comic-style story that allowed various sources to interact. However, considering the sensitive nature of the topic, this approach could have trivialized the information. Consequently, I opted for an illustrative solution, which, in my opinion, adds a more personal and emotional touch to the story.
One crucial point to remember is that Instagram is primarily a visual platform where capturing attention begins with visual appeal. Therefore, it is important to be visually attractive. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid overwhelming the slides with excessive text.
The challenge lies in the fact that, like any social media storytelling, only some of the information gathered during the reporting process can fit within the given space. It is essential to understand this limitation and carefully select the most important aspects of your investigation to include, leaving out a significant amount of valuable information. One helpful practice is to utilize the caption section to provide additional information that complements the story.
About Jesus Mesa
Jesus is a Colombian journalist who is passionate about discovering innovative ways to connect with audiences. As a reporter, he has worked at El Espectador, Revista Cambio and Revista Semana in Colombia, and has also been awarded fellowships from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), The Carter Center and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.