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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Key investigations and interviews
Newsnight has been breaking exclusive stories, getting the big interviews, asking the tough questions and holding those in power to account since it first aired in 1980.

Here's just a small selection of recent highlights.

Nick Griffin interview
BNP leader Nick Griffin
Many viewers applauded the decision to interview the BNP leader

Gavin Esler's interview in July 2004 with British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin followed a BBC undercover investigation which showed BNP members making racist threats against Muslims.

Gavin Esler says: "Since the views of the leaders of the British National Party are so offensive to so many British people it is never easy to decide whether, and under what circumstances, to interview them.

"In this case the racist threats made by BNP members in a BBC undercover investigation - and Mr Griffin's suggestion that the Islamic faith was expanded in part as a result of rape - made it seem absolutely necessary to us to interview him on the programme.

"This decision was applauded by many, many viewers who wrote to me after the interview."

Beverley Hughes
Beverley Hughes
Beverley Hughes on Newsnight

On 29 March 2004, Kirsty Wark interviewed the then Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes.

Ms Hughes stated she did not know about claims the Home Office had approved visa claims from eastern Europe, despite warnings they were backed by forged documents.

But it became clear she had she had been warned about it a year previously, by Labour deputy chief whip Bob Ainsworth.

After initially rejecting calls to resign, she stepped down on 1 April 2004, conceding she had given a misleading impression - albeit unwittingly - to MPs.

THAT Michael Howard interview

Michael Howard
Michael Howard being quizzed
And, of course, no Newsnight highlights page would be complete without featuring THAT interview.

Yes, the award-winning Jeremy Paxman interview with Michael Howard and Ann Widdecombe from May 1997.

Uniting Arab and Israeli musicians

Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim
Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim

Newsnight reporter David Sells writes: "In a Hobbesian world where, so often, we report on events which are nasty and brutish, occasionally a story warms the heart.

"In 2003, in Seville, Spain, David Sells reported on the conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim who staged what is now an annual orchestra-cum-summer-school for young Arab and Israeli musicians.

"He founded it with his friend, the late Edward Said. Said was a Palestinian-American, Barenboim is an Israeli Jew. The point about the workshop, and subsequent public concerts, is that for participants - young Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Israelis - the common tongue is classical music.

"In Barenboim's words to Newsnight: "the fact that these people come from different countries, from different backgrounds, some of them with feelings of animosity towards the other, and they make music together, this is what it is about."

"It is, of course, about more than that, which is why he and Said set it up in the first place. It is an occasion replete with potent symbols and designed to set people thinking.

"Seville was certainly about the magic of music, but with young musicians from Israel and Arab lands inter-mingling, playing together, talking together, relaxing together, and all the time learning from Maestro Barenboim. Music with a message and not just for the strife-torn Middle East."

Under fire in Kosovo

Mark Urban
Mark Urban reporting under fire
Newsnight's diplomatic editor Mark Urban's has reported from all over the world.

Including this report from Kosovo; conducted lying down while shots are fired overhead.

Mark says: "Shortly after Nato forces went into Kosovo, a deadline was set for Serbian military forces to leave. Coming through a hotel lobby on the way to this broadcast we had seen some armed soldiers who seemed determined to defy this order.

"That was one of the things I was discussing, live on air, with a Nato spokesman when the soldiers emerged from the hotel and started firing left, right and centre.

"I don't think they wanted to kill anybody, but it was common sense to take cover all the same.

"We'd had quite a few close shaves covering the Kosovo story. Clearly any responsible journalist tries to get the best information and minimise the dangers when entering a war zone.

"But I don't think we should dodge the underlying truth: reporting conflict properly requires us to take risks sometimes.

If we do not there will only be the claim and counter-claim of the warring sides and the wider world will not bear witness to what is happening."

Paul Mason
Paul Mason reports from China
China: Winners and Losers

Newsnight's business and industrial correspondent, Paul Mason says: "In the world of satellite TV and the internet you can blinded by market data in triplicate any time of the day or night. Newsnight's job is to explain it all.

"To me business is anything where money changes hands or there's an organisational issue. Ultimately it's about power, who wields it, and whether they do it justly. The raw data rarely tells that story.

"We went to China not just to show the vast supply of cheap labour that is impacting on jobs, prices and business models across the world, but also why China has followed a different path than the one dictated in Western business schools.

"We met the winners and losers of China's economic miracle: the rich peasant, the poor peasant, the injured workers and the children whose school does not officially exist. How things work out for them will shape our century."

Newsnight's Richard Watson
Newsnight's Richard Watson attends the rally
Al Muhajiroun: When Simon became Sulymen

Islamist extremists are in the minority in Britain, but they do exist, and prominent among them is the organisation Al Muhajiroun.

It wants the UK to become an Islamic state and refuses to condemn terror attacks. In fact, it applauds the perpetrators of 9/11.

Newsnight correspondent Richard Watson says: "Given all the talk of the 'home grown terror threat' in the news and the arrests of alleged Islamist extremists, our investigation of April 2004 felt like a timely insight into the recruiting methods and mentality of the organisation.

"The film follows two brothers - Colin and Simon - one of whom had joined up and one who hadn't. It features highly controversial footage from inside a London rally/recruiting meeting where self-appointed religious leaders called 9/11 'magnificent'.

"It is also the last detailed look at Al Muhajiroun who withdrew all co-operation with the media following broadcast."

B of the Bang
The B of the Bang

Newsnight had exclusive access to the entire construction process of Britain's biggest sculpture: The B of the Bang.

Our Culture Correspondent Madeline Holt's three reports chart how 120 tonnes of steel were finally put together in Manchester.

Newsnight at 20

In 2000, Jeremy Paxman presented an irreverent look back at 20 years of Newsnight, revisiting some of the great moments over the years from key political interviews, foreign reports to bizarre studio sets...

Title sequences from the last 20 years of Newsnight


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