Converting Hotels Into Affordable Housing in New York City
By Owen Berg
This story covers hotel-to-housing conversions as an affordable housing solution in New York City, drawing evidence from projects in Brooklyn as well as California, and discusses the limitations of this concept via a Twitter thread, with images, graphics, quoted tweets and external links.
Why this platform
I wanted to experiment with the opportunities that Twitter threads offer for solutions stories. Threads allow for stories to be segmented into smaller parts, increasing engagement opportunities for readers. Tagging accounts, quote tweeting and linking to articles also allows you to add context and depth to your story in a way that is native to the platform. Threads can also be added to in real time, or quoted in other tweets, so this story could be easily built on or updated in the future
Writing a lengthy Twitter thread, complete with graphics, photos, alt text, quote tweets, links to sources is not easily done through the Twitter app or website. Writing the thread should occur in a separate document so everything can be pasted into the thread all at once.
Opportunities and challenges
The idea for this project started out as a TikTok video, but I realized while reporting that I wouldn’t be able to include enough detail if I condensed it into a short video.
Additionally, because many of my sources were external articles and reports, I wanted to make use of links, which Twitter is more suited for. I thought my supplemental material, like the floor plan graphics, would do well as standalone posts, and could have potential to be shared on their own. Hitting Twitter’s character limit was less of an issue than I’d anticipated. If anything, it reminded me to keep my writing brief, but I rarely had to edit my text down to make sure it fit into the format.
A limitation of this project was that I do not have a large following on Twitter, so I wasn’t able to see how readers would engage with the story if it were published by a news outlet. But I still believe posting it on Twitter as a thread is helpful to demonstrate the platform’s capabilities.
About Owen Berg
Owen is a journalist and graphic designer from Oxford, Ohio. He is currently interested in audience engagement and product, and will intern with NBC News Digital’s Art and Photo team in the summer of 2023. He previously studied journalism and interactive media at Miami University of Ohio.