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CNBC's Schacknow: Hurry Up and Wait (How News Breaks)

The Waiting
As Tom Petty once sang, the waiting is the hardest part -- especially concerning a scheduled or imminent breaking news event. (You can never go wrong quoting Tom Petty.)

We had several perfect examples of this Thursday, starting with the joint news conference held by President George W. Bush and outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. We planned to take it live at its original scheduled starting time of 11:25 a.m. ET during “Morning Call,” but were later told the starting time had been moved up to 11:05 a.m. A White House staffer appeared at the podium a few minutes after that, which usually means the President’s appearance is imminent. It wasn’t.

Our anchors and chief Washington correspondent John Harwood did an admirable job of filling the time -- interspersed with a few commercial breaks that we were reluctant to take, because of the uncertainty and the absence of the standard 2-minute warning. The president and prime minister eventually did appear -- at 11:21 a.m.

More Waiting
This example wasn’t quite as severe, but we were told there would be a 1:30 p.m. ET news conference on a newly struck immigration deal between the Senate and the White House. John Harwood (who obviously had a very busy day) reported on what details we knew, and we made plans to report further as details came out, while showing live video of the news conference while it was happening. All that did happen -- but not until about 1:45 p.m. Nothing all that difficult, but sometimes it’s better to have news sprung upon us -- rather than know about it and having to wait for it.

And Still More Waiting
Two words: Paul Wolfowitz. We’ve known for days that something will happen regarding the embattled World Bank president, ranging from any second to sometime this week. This makes us jump any time we see anything cross regarding Wolfowitz, even if it turns out to be a “nothing yet” wire story.

But Not Always
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke won today’s promptness award -- but we may have to take it from him on a technicality. We often get advance copies of Fed speeches on strict embargo until the release time, in this case 9:30 a.m. ET. We had senior economics correspondent Steve Liesman ready to go at 9:30 sharp to preview the speech. Except the esteemed Mr. Bernanke started speaking at 9:28 a.m.! We had to leave Steve in the lurch and go right to the speech, which was carried live -- but we were fully prepared with onscreen bullet points, thanks to Steve’s fine work in advance.

In all, a very busy day at the Breaking News desk -- despite all the waiting.