CNBC's Schacknow: NBC News Serves on a Silver Platter

Silver Platter Treatment: Or, why it’s nice to be part of the NBC News family. I often tell elaborate tales of how we've gone to great lengths to get some breaking news story on the air. All that is true. But sometimes, stories land in our lap with little or no effort.

This afternoon, NBC News Correspondent Pete Williams learned that the FBI was investigating the allegedly improper monitoring of non-employee e-mails by Wal-Mart officials.

We learned of this thanks to Pete entering it into a central NBC News file known as the "Hot" file. We called Pete immediately and told him of our interest in the story. He walked over to a camera in our Washington bureau and was on CNBC air within minutes.

My contribution: writing the intro to Pete and an on-screen "deko" (chyron) to describe the story for those slackers who like to watch CNBC with the sound down (and you KNOW who you are ...) Besides keeping the control room informed, that was pretty much it.

It looked good, and it FELT good -- to know that our brethren at NBC News are there for us when we need them. A far cry from the early days of CNBC, when the most common response we got -- both inside and outside the company -- was, "Hmm ... CNBC ... how do you spell that?"

We Were Ready, But: The stock futures looked ugly. The overseas markets were selling off. The Dow was ready to drop below 12,000 for the first time since ... um ... I’m not sure. Or, I wasn't sure before.

With the markets in turmoil, the Dow could easily have dropped below 12,000 in today’s trading. Luckily, I’d had enough morning coffee to understand that it might be nice to know when this happened last. With the assistance of NYSE Producer Robert Hum (who seems to have more trivia-enabled data machines than I do) we were able to determine that the Dow last closed below 12K on Nov. 3, and last moved below 12K intraday on Nov. 6.

As is often the case when we're prepared, it would turn out that we didn't need the info. As of this writing, the Dow has moved back and forth in a 150-point range, but so far hasn’t broken below the 12,000 mark.

But if it does, we’ll be ready!