Power Lunch

Monday - Friday, 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET
Power Lunch

CNBC's Schacknow: Our Day On Breaking News Desk


I Don’t Know, But I Know People Who Do: How does the breaking news desk know which news merits special coverage and which does not?

A) I’m a genius.
B) I rely on many very smart co-workers.

The answer is: not A).

All of which leads me to pay tribute to the many specialty producers who work here at CNBC.  You don’t see them on the air, but you benefit from the results of their work, as evidenced in today’s breaking stories.

Over A Barrel: OPEC met in Nigeria and as the morning went on, many, many small bits of news emerged from the meeting, culminating in the announcement that the cartel would cut production by 500,000 barrels a day beginning in February, and sending the price of crude higher. "Squawk Box" first reported the news of a draft agreement at 7:15 a.m. ET. The official communiqué was issued at 10:48 a.m. ET, firming the price of oil once again.

Field producer and energy specialist Jill Woerner was able to keep us up to date on which pieces of information were new and which weren’t, which is one of the biggest challenges of such meetings. Jill also unearthed a wonderful bit of trivia: until today’s admission of Angola into the cartel, Nigeria was the most recent current OPEC member to join - in 1971, 35 years ago. (I’ll take OPEC trivia for $500, Alex ..)

Pfizer   Exhales: Pfizer’s inhalable insulin product Exubera can stay on the market, according to a judge who ruled against Novo Nordisk’s claim that Exubera violated its patents. Not all drug announcements and court rulings are created equal, but pharmaceuticals producer Ruth Coxeter seemingly knows about every drug in development and all court cases in progress. She was able to tell us that this story was new and significant enough to be worthy of a “deko alert” at 11:42 a.m. ET and a story at noon ET.

The Bear Maximum: We love to plan ahead. Even more fun is when the plan goes totally awry, as it did this morning with the latest brokerage earnings. Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers report their earnings sometime after 8 a.m. ET.  Really. They do. Almost always. Just not today.  Much to our surprise, both companies issued their quarterly reports at 7:30 a.m. ET, but quick work by "Squawk Box" producer and earnings specialist Anne Trivett and anchors Joe Kernen and Becky Quick got the news on the air in a timely and smooth manner. Extra kudos to Rob Contino, who produces "Squawk Box’s" third hour and had to completely redo the top of his show, and did so with nary a glitch.

Moral: you don’t have to know all the answers, but you do have to know where they are!