MRTV: The future of foreign reporting?



After a year of working for the Financial Times as a video journalist and producer, I have returned to Mexico to pick up where I left off with – now entering it’s second stage of life. I return unsupported by any one media organisation, although with good relationships at newspapers and broadcasters and so far (in the first month I’ve been here) a regular stream of paid work.


Frontline Club has asked me to blog about my work here in Mexico, as well as the process of setting up, making a living, trying not to get into too much trouble, and attempting to make ends meet.


So here’s the deal.


When I set up in July 2007, it was mainly a marketing tool – an online portfolio through which editors could find me to commission me. I got taken on by the Mexico bureau of the Los Angeles Times as a local blogger and video journalist soon after arriving, so most of my time was taken up working for them.


This time around, I plan to make the site more than that – mainly prompted by the existential crisis that the media and foreign reporting currently finds itself in – see more here.


My approach is three-pronged.


Firstly, I aim to develop the site into a go-to portal for English speakers both living here in Mexico and around the world looking for news and analysis on the country. The site is part producer, part aggregator, and linked around the social networks.


Secondly, that in theory could lead to bigger and longer-term commissions, and relationships with foreign newspapers and broadcasters. I hope to channel those through a production company called The Mexico Bureau. I’m encouraged by partnerships I have seen such as that between The Tehran Bureau and PBS Frontline, and Foreign Policy’s Af/Pak Channel, a joint venture with the New America Foundation.


Thirdly, I plan to create my own video programme (which you can see embedded above) – a regular analysis format that will be a standalone MRTV production. This is in part motivated by my desire to produce quality journalism using cheap web tools, and secondly I hope may attract it’s own audience and following as a media in itself. The show will be produced by me, but hopefully will also feature content and contributions from Mexico’s freelance VJ community. It will aim to compliment, not imitate, reports from existing media coming out of Mexico, providing analysis and content rather than breaking news.


Of course, the main challenge in all of this will be balancing my ambitions for with the need to bring in money through paid commissions. That and the fact that because the site is unfunded, expenses such as travel out of Mexico City are limited. But it’s a work in process – stay tuned to see how things go.


You can see more details about my background and my kit on the site.