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CNBC's Schacknow: Market Roller-Coaster and CNBC Changes

Thursday, 1 Mar 2007 | 5:17 PM ET

Wild Ride

Did you ever stand in front of a dam wall, knowing that the water was rising rapidly and that any second an ocean might land on your head?

Me neither, but I’m positive that it feels a lot like covering today’s stock market, without the disadvantage of possibly drowning.

In this case, the water was the stock index futures market and the dam wall was the 9:30 a.m. opening bell on Wall Street. After watching the futures drop sharply all morning, we KNEW there would be massive selling at the open. And there was -- followed by one of the most amazing single-day turnarounds in quite a while -- with the Dow erasing all of a 209-point loss as of this writing.

Covering this kind of market action is what we do -- there’s no difficulty in putting CNBC’s market reporters on, and setting them loose. The difficulty, as I noted on "Meltdown Tuesday," is putting up onscreen graphics and seeing them instantly outdated.

Shortly after the beginning of “Street Signs,” the Dow went positive -- quite notable after a 209-point loss earlier. We put up an onscreen “deko” indicating this -- but no sooner had I done that than it went negative again. The same was true of the S&P and the Nasdaq. You haven’t lived until you’ve had 10 helpful people informing you of all these things simultaneously. Let’s just say it goes with the territory.
[Editor's note: "dekos" = onscreen caption boxes, displaying data, names, etc.]

After days like today, I wonder what it would be like to have an easier job -- like, say, air traffic controller.

Good Look
You may have noticed that our on-air chyrons (known around here as “dekos”) have several different looks. Did I say several? I meant dozens. And sometimes it can be as challenging to keep up with requests for different looks as it is to keep up with the news itself.

For instance, when today’s selloff occurred -- we used the “breaking news” look -- that is, until things calmed down and we merely went back to “alert” look. Of course, then there are the “routine” dekos that go on-screen normally, with the name of the show that’s on the air at the time -- known as "show" look.

“Power Lunch” had Sen. Hillary Clinton on, and our job was to quickly make “dekos” out of her answers, so that viewers could see what she was saying. Of course, an interview like this merits “CNBC Exclusive” look.

When we have an interview first, but we know the person will appear in other media as well, we have a “First On CNBC” look.

The most prominent look on days when we use all these looks? The grimace on my face. Not my best look.