Innovation in 2017

Be like Jackie Chan: how journalists can innovate by using what’s already available

Written by Lisa Divissi

The way I see it, innovation has two main dimensions: the technological and the human. These two elements interact to produce new and exciting ways of solving problems and meeting needs.

What I find most inspiring is when people discover new ways of utilising existing resources to achieve extraordinary ends.

In Australia, I think Michael Green’s podcast The Messenger does just this.


If you aren’t already familiar with the Australian government’s refugee policy, it might be worth taking a gander at this
handy explainer by the BBC.

The Messenger uses voicemail messages delivered directly between journalist Michael Green and Manus Island detainee Abdul Aziz Muhamat through Whatsapp and a smuggled phone. It forms the basis for a podcast that gives Australians insight into a part of our society that is difficult to access.

In terms of a journalist compiling a story, the conditions aren’t exactly ideal (presumably Green would travel to Manus Island himself to complete such a report) but considering the high level of opacity journalists are faced with when writing about detention centres, it’s amazing he found an opening at all.

It takes a certain kind of innovative thinking to look at what is available and use it to meet your needs. In Green’s case, he needed access. In Jackie Chan’s case, he needed to defeat a bad guy:


I am aware that Jackie Chan is not a journalist but you must admit he is good at using what’s available.

I mean, goodness me.


Bonus link:

  • Sometimes it’s innovating the language around form that helps get the story out and your voice heard. Check out Jafar Panahi’s extraordinary feat in This is Not a Film (2011)

About the author

Lisa Divissi