Quite simply they maketh the story. Sometimes an idea will arise that feels great and makes sense and is all lyrical and topical. You go with it, write it up, work in the key messages, create great quotes, get it signed off, pitch it and the outcome is a great big zero. An essential question before you go anywhere near the phone, an email or a meeting: what are the facts? If there aren't any it's not going to work. News is about facts, occurrences, events - not about abstract ideas.
If the story feels right, there will be a fact to be found. Maybe it will take a day or two and an omnibus poll to validate the idea, but it's worth the wait.