The Anatomy of Reporting a Rate Cut

By Chris Ariens 

It’s one of those breaking news stories in which broadcasters know the ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’; they just don’t know the ‘what’ or the ‘why’.

The FOMC’s meeting culminates with the 2:15pmET announcement of what they’ve decided to do with the Fed Funds rate. And now we know how this happens.

Industry insiders tell TVNewser, 30 to 40 print and broadcast reporters gather in the basement of the Treasury Department. The announcement is faxed to the press room, copies are made and distributed, then a five-minute countdown begins. At one minute, the reporters are allowed to call in to their respective editors or control rooms; when a bell in the middle of the room rings, the reporters can make the announcement.


When today’s 1/2 point rate cut was announced, FBN’s Adam Shapiro and CNBC’s Hampton Pearson were at Treasury awaiting the decision. Both were on the phone, dialed in to their control rooms, mic’d and ready to go.

As Liz Claman on FBN and Erin Burnett on CNBC, along with their guests, built up to the announcement, Shapiro and Pearson read the Fed’s decision and statement simultaneously.