– multimedia reporting of Latin American journey

Two British journalists are embarking on a multimedia exploration of Latin America in a quest to map out a new model for freelance journalism.

Deborah Bonello, a writer for outlets including CNN Traveller and The Guardian, and Tom Parker, a photojournalist who has contributed to Time and Portfolio, started to document efforts to produce mobile overseas journalism using an array of new technology.

Over three months in Mexico and Guatemala, they will seek out stories – produced using a laptop, mobile phone, digitial video (DV) camera and digital camera – that can be told using Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Flickr and other social media outlets.

“We are going to have to strike a balance between small pieces of content – a three-minute interview on video or audio, for example – and larger pieces of reportage,” London-based Ms Bonello, who flies to Mexico City on Thursday before heading south, told

“The point is to get an ‘in’ to the lives and stories that the mainstream media don’t cover. We will be relying heavily on contacts we have out there and working with locals.”

The initiative bears similarities with independent backpack video journalist Kevin Sites, whose In The Hot Zone reports for Yahoo have illustrated the potential for solo multimedia online news reportage from around the world, and with Ben Hammersley’s attempt to report the Turkish election for BBC News using Flickr, Twitter, and other off-site resources.

Ms Bonello and Mr Parker will be relying on online production support from back home in the UK – technology journalist Mike Butcher is acting as an advisor and editor to the project – and, though they have so far secured support from free mobile blog provider moblogUK, they are still seeking additional sponsorship.

“In order to cover our costs, at least initially, we are going to pitch stories to existing media outlets as we go,” Ms Bonello added.

“[The funding is from] my own back pocket, hence we’re looking for commercial partners. We both love the freelance lifestyle, and are tying to find new ways of monetising it. [The aim is] to come back in one piece  with work we’re proud of.”