When Breaking News Becomes a Cascade

Opening The News Spigot: We love a busy day on the Breaking News Desk - it means we’ll have new and interesting stories to talk about all day. The biggest difficulty comes on days like today, when they all happen in rapid succession.

We had one of the more challenging half hours that I can remember during the 1030 am to 11am segment of "Morning Call", when the following stories cascaded across the desk, seemingly all at once:

A court in Florida reversed a $1.6 billion dollar verdict against Morgan Stanley in a case involving financier Ron Perelman.

A House Judiciary subcommittee authorized subpoenas of the White House aides involved in the dismissal of U.S. prosecutors.

Our partners at the Wall Street Journal reported that former White House budget director David Stockman was about to be indicted for his role in the bankruptcy filing of auto parts maker Collins & Aikman.

And Sen. Christopher Dodd announced that New Century Financial executives had declined to testify at a Thursday Congressional hearing on subprime lending.

It’s never boring here, and even less so when several stories break at once, and when it occurs during the half hour before the 11 am headlines segment, which, by chance, it’s my responsibility to write.

That, by the way, may sound like a half hour from hell, but in fact, I consider it an advantage. We quickly put all those stories on the air in chyron form, and then used them all as stories in the aforementioned headline segment.

That makes me happy - because as quick and convenient as chyron "alerts" are, it’s hard to convey some stories in that form. I always make myself available to write any stories that producers want, but shows are often so packed with guests and other news that it’s sometimes hard to get them in. That’s why it’s great to have those headline segments, and why I’m glad it’s part of our "turf" at the desk.

Transocean CEO - Buy Us!: Sometimes, a story crosses the wire that both amuses us and practically begs to be on the air immediately.

The CEO of oil driller Transocean told an AG Edwards conference in Boston that consolidation is good for the industry, and that it would like to be part of that consolidation. I wasn't there, obviously, but it sure sounded like an open invitation to make an offer.

Remember a few moments ago when I said some stories beg to be more than a chyron? This was one of them and luckily, I had the right man for the job. As it happened, the story broke a few moments before Bob O’Brien was doing his "stocks to watch" segment. I asked Bob if he would put that in his segment, even though it was so close to air, and being the cooperative guy that he is, he agreed to do so. And he put that touch of whimsy into the story that it needed - along with a stock chart that showed the shares rising on the self-generated takeover speculation. Perfect.