Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?
I’ve learned by now that most breaking news stories don’t break in an optimum fashion -- that is, one which allows us to get all the information and a reporter on the air as soon as possible, with all elements in place.
However, once in a great while, my faith in breaking-news karma is restored.
This morning, we learned that, amid much controversy, Wal-Mart Stores would be withdrawing its application for a bank charter, after several years of what the world’s largest retailer calls “manufactured controversy.”
Break #1: I was staring right at our wire feed when the story crossed.
Break #2: We were about 30 seconds from coming out of a commercial -- just enough time to write a chyron with the news, and get it on the air coming out of the break.
Break #3: Our Washington reporter, Hampton Pearson, had reported on this story many times as it progressed, and was in the bureau when it happened -- so it was a simple matter to put him on the air several minutes later. We quickly put video and some stock charts in, and presto! A full-blown report. Almost like we’d planned it!
Yes, I know: if every breaking news story was that easy, there would be less of a need for... um... me. But we all deserve an easy one every once in a while, right?
Faber Does It Again
There’s always a special tension when David Faber has an exclusive story in the works, especially when it gets close to air.
One of the privileges of working at the Breaking News Desk is that we get to know -- at least a minute or two before -- the stories that David is about to break. That tension comes from staring at the wires, and hoping we get a story on the air before it appears elsewhere.
David went on just after the opening bell, to tell us that private equity firm Blackstone Group was planning an IPO. We needn’t have worried. No one else was even close. Afterward, David came back to the assignment desk to discuss possible follow-ups, and to exchange high-fives.
Yes, we actually do things like that.