Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

The story of Princess Diana played out daily in front of the world’s eyes. In chapter after chapter, the curiosity and fascination with Diana and The Royal Family was insatiable. Even today, with the recent release of the HBO documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, the world continues to satiate its hunger for The People’s Princess.

Legendary journalist and editor Tina Brown CBE, very much had a seat in the front row. The Diana Chronicles marked a well-received, indelible moment in understanding the complexities of Diana and the world’s relationship with her — especially as it relates to the press.

Catching up at Cannes Lions, Brown shared her thoughts on what makes a great story.

First, and most importantly, she believes that a great story involves someone who is battling the odds, facing a challenge where the outcome is uncertain. Additionally, a level of suspense enhances the tension of whether or not that person will overcome whatever is in front of them.

The greatest story she’s ever heard, not surprisingly, is that of Princess Diana. In keeping with the narrative of beating the odds, the questions of whether or not show would she break through lingered constantly. In Brown’s view, Diana most certainly did triumph and paved her own way, though the story ended with a devastating conclusion.

The greatest story Brown believes that can ever told is our own. To that end, Brown is close to releasing The Vanity Fair Diaries, an inside look at her tenure as editor of Vanity Fair — and how she battled during her time to overcome her own obstacles and create her own triumph and success.

What's the Story? is sponsored by Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), the first global network for branded product integration in the entertainment industry, across all media, including the influencer space.

Filmed at Cannes Lions

If you would like to pitch someone for “What’s the Story?“, please complete the linked form.

Search The Drum Jobs

Explore the best jobs in Marketing and Media industries
View all open jobs

Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug