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CNBC's Schacknow: Breaking News Can Break A Producer

As The Stomach Turns: Ah, the pressure of producing breaking news. I’ve done it enough times, yet I always find the monthly Philadelphia Fed report nerve wracking.

It breaks at exactly noon ET - it’s the very first item on "Power Lunch" so there’s that pressure to get the show off to a good start. I have the (relatively) easy part - finding the relevant info in a mass of numbers, and getting it up on screen. The more difficult task falls to Senior Economics Correspondent Steve Liesman, who is already on the air while watching the numbers cross the wires and interpreting them on the fly. And quite well, I might add.

Steve does his special report from the Breaking News Desk while standing about three feet from me. (You can often see me in the background typing furiously and looking very stressed). I always breathe a sigh of relief when the report is done. Especially after Steve puts his producer whip down.

Oh yes - the December Philly Fed Index fell to -4.3, the worst since April 2003. Our report, I’m happy to say, went flawlessly.

Off The Hook: The Breaking News Producer (me) loves the occasional respite provided by the do-it-yourself breaking news story, especially when the “yourself” is not me. In this case, the heavy lifting was done by Pharmaceuticals Reporter Mike Huckman, who broke the news that Boston Scientific had signed a contract to be the exclusive provider of drug stents to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. Viewers first heard the news from Mike on “Squawk Box” at 7 a.m. ET. Mike and producer Ruth Coxeter prepared all of the story’s elements and had it ready to go, while I merely watched in admiration.

Harry’s Billions: The Breaking News Producer (me, again) also loves the type of breaking news that doesn’t involve tragedy, corporate fraud, or dangerous product recalls. It also helps when it involves a boy wizard who’s entertained millions and made his creator a billionaire.

We found out at 9:45 a.m. ET that the seventh and final Harry Potter book now has a title: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. And there’s a decided business angle here, aside from the millions the Harry franchise has generated: publisher Scholastic put out two sets of earnings projections for next year - the second one much higher than the first, if author J.K. Rowling has the book ready for publication before year’s end.

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • "Power Lunch" & “Nightly Business Report” Co-Anchor

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