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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 13:51 GMT

By Peter Barron
Editor, Newsnight

Peter Barron

I've been a big fan of Newsnight since it first started in 1980.

At that time I was still at school and not particularly interested in current affairs, but there was something about the programme which instantly appealed to me.

Later, my first proper job at the BBC was as a trainee journalist on Newsnight and much later, after a few jobs on other programmes, I became the editor.

What still gets me out of bed in the morning is the same thing that I've always loved about Newsnight. It doesn't just report the news of the day, it tries to understand and explain what's happening in the world and ask questions about why things are happening.

Barron and Paxman

It aims to make you think, but it also aims to be enjoyable and even entertaining.

As the editor I'm responsible for what goes out on the programme each night, and also for managing the team of about 60 people who work on Newsnight and planning what the programme will do in future.

My working day usually starts with a phone-call to the editor of the day at about 10 to nine in the morning.

Both of us will already have listened to the morning's news, looked at the newspapers and news on the internet and usually have some idea of what we should be doing that day.

The best test of whether the programme has been good or not is: Would I have stayed up to watch it if I didn't have to?
Peter Barron

But that can all change as the day goes on and stories break.

On Newsnight the trick is not just to report breaking news, but to try to say or ask something interesting about what's happening, so we are always weighing up which stories we should be chasing and which ones to let go.

Each day we usually report on three or four stories and the best thing about the job is that no two days are ever the same.

My day ends by watching the programme go out live at 10.30pm. Sometimes I'm still at the office, but usually I'm at home on the sofa.

The best test of whether the programme has been good or not is: Would I have stayed up to watch it if I didn't have to?

I hope the answer to that is usually yes.


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