As a follow-up to my Local Author Shocked story, I wanted to share a conversation I had with a friend who was a television reporter in New York City some years ago.

She had been sent out with a camera crew to cover a report that water had been cut off from an apartment building. Apparently elderly people could be seen queuing to fill buckets of water from an outdoor tap. The angle was going to be about heartless landlords.

But on arriving at the scene, it turned out to be a complete beat up. My friend called her boss to explain there was no story, to which he flipped out.

‘This is leading the news tonight,’ he yelled. ‘We’ve done the promo. Get the story.’

My friend said again, there was no water outage, there was no story.

Her boss, now apoplectic, said, ‘You can make a story out of a F**k’n tuna fish sandwich. NOW GET ME THE STORY!’ (He actually said Toona Fish as this was New York.)

So, with the cameras rolling, my friend said something like, ‘The elderly residents of this apartment building behind me could have been facing a life-threatening water shortage. Fortunately, it has not come to that. But the incident has thrown into focus the treatment of vulnerable tenants by greedy landlords.’

I guess the only difference between empty television promos of the past promising stories that weren’t there and the clickbait of today, is that now the entire fiction can be created without leaving your desk.

Incidentally, I would like to put out the challenge to all writers and would-be writers to come up with a story about a F**k’n Toona Fish Sandwich. Haiku also accepted.

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