Good stories must pass the pub test | Blaise Tapp

News is something that has been a huge part of my life for the past 25 years – ever since I decided that a career of constant deadlines was for me.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:55 pm
Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board. Picture: AFP via Getty Images

Although I jumped off the local news treadmill last year, current affairs still occupy me professionally.

A good story always passes the pub test – would you and the patrons of the Dog and Duck spend happy hour discussing the finer points of the said issue?

While the cultural reference might be a little outdated today, the sentiment remains the same; a good story is something that gets tongues wagging and temperatures rising.

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The fallout from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell announcement they were ‘stepping away from royal duties’ has sent millions of people round the bend.

The level of coverage that this story has received has been mind-boggling.

So-called experts have been gravely informing television and radio audiences that this is a royal crisis to rival the death of the Duke’s mother, Princess Diana, or the abdication of King Edward VIII.

I would argue it isn’t even the biggest royal story of the past two months.

Prince Andrew’s car crash interview with the BBC about his association with the late paedophile businessman Jeffery Epstein must surely rank ahead of this particular storm in a fine china teacup?

And a constitutional crisis to rival the 1936 abdication?

Harry isn’t king and, as sixth in line to the throne, he was never going to be, which is largely where my apathy to this whole sorry saga stems from.

I know good headlines sell newspapers but does anybody really want to read 17 pages of news about any issue? That is the number of pages one national newspaper devoted to Megxit last week on the same day that ITN gave over the first 15 minutes of its flagship News at Ten programme to the issue.

That might have been okay if there wasn’t anything else going on but it happened to coincide with the revelation that the Tehran air crash that claimed 176 lives was caused by an Iranian missile strike.

That really is a huge story.