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Wednesday, 10 November, 1999, 14:31 GMT
Meet the team
Jeremy Paxman, began his television career as a reporter covering the troubles in Northern Ireland. A graduate in English of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, he moved to Belfast after working in local radio. During his three years there, he became the first full-time television current affairs reporter, specialising in investigative journalism.
In 1977 he moved to London to work as a reporter on 'Tonight', and after two years he became a reporter on 'Panorama'. His assignments over the next five years took him around the world. It was during this period he wrote 'A Higher Form Of Killing' (with Robert Harris), an acclaimed history of chemical and biological warfare. His investigation into the mysterious death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi, 'Called To Account', won the Royal Television Society award for international current affairs. It was while travelling in El Salvador researching for his book about Central America, 'Through The Volcanoes', that he received a call inviting him to present the new 'Six O'Clock News'. In 1986, he moved to 'Breakfast News'.
He joined 'Newsnight' in 1989, shortly before publication of his portrait of the British Establishment, 'Friends in High Places'. He also hosted `You decide with Paxman', in the Summer of 1995. When 'University Challenge' was revived by the BBC, he became chairman.
Jeremy was awarded a broadcasting award for outstanding contribution to television by the Voice of the Viewer and Listener in 1994 and 1997 and was given the Richard Dimbleby Award, BAFTA's most prestigious award for current affairs, in 1996 and 2000. In 1998 he won the Interview of the Year award for his famous questioning of Michael Howard and in 2002 he was named presenter of the year at the Royal Television Society Journalism awards.
Jeremy published his latest book 'English' and took over from Melvyn Bragg as the host of 'Start The Week' in 1999.
Kirsty Wark joined the BBC in 1976 as a graduate researcher for BBC Radio Scotland. For the next six years she worked on daily and weekly radio programmes in the Current Affairs department. During this time she also spent six months in London as a producer on Radio 4's 'The World At One'. In 1982, Kirsty moved across to BBC Television in Scotland as a director and producer and later as a presenter.
As BBC Scotland's main presenter on all its political programmes and election specials, Kirsty has interviewed many top politicians, but her most memorable interview was in 1990 when she conducted a headline-making interview with the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. In the late eighties Kirsty presented BBC-1's 'Breakfast Time', and she also presented editions of 'The Late Show'.
In the past few years, Kirsty has presented 'Upfront', BBC Scotland's weekly political programme and chaired the monthly studio debate, 'Axiom'. She also introduces 'Edinburgh Nights', BBC-2's coverage of the Edinburgh International Festival' and is a regular presenter with 'One Foot In The Past'.
Kirsty joined BBC-2's 'Newsnight' in October 1993.
In 1997, she won the BAFTA Scotland, Best Television Presenter Award.
The BBC's Rough Justice programme signed Kirsty as presenter in Feb 1998.
Kirsty is married to the independent producer Alan Clements and they have two children.
Gavin Esler joined the presenting team in January 2003. Gavin has anchored BBC News 24 since 1997 and reported for news and documentary programmes across Europe, Russia, China and North and South America. He was appointed Washington correspondent in 1989, and then chief North America correspondent a year later.
Gavin began his journalistic career as a reporter on The Belfast Telegraph. He joined BBC Television as Northern Ireland reporter and then BBC TWO's Newsnight as a reporter/presenter.
He received a Royal Television Society award for his reports on the military build up in the Aleutian Islands as part of the Reagan administration's New Maritime Strategy.
Gavin was appointed to Washington Correspondent in 1989, and then Chief North America Correspondent a year later.
In charge of shaping and directing BBC coverage from North America, he has travelled extensively across the US and was accredited to the White House to cover the Bush and Clinton administrations.
He presented BBC News 24's comprehensive coverage of the President Clinton/Lewinsky hearings.
Gavin is the author of three novels - Loyalties, Deep Blue and The Blood Brother. He has also written a book on American discontent, The United States of Anger.
Michael Crick began his journalistic career in 1980 as an ITN trainee. In 1982 he was a founder member of Channel 4 News and in 1988 became the programme's correspondent in Washington. He moved to the BBC in 1990, first on Panorama, and since 1992 working part-time for Newsnight, where he specialises in politics. He has won two RTS awards, one for his coverage of the 1988 US election, and another in 2002 for a Panorama Special programme on the life of Jeffrey Archer.
Crick is also a best-selling author. His books include Militant (1984), Scargill and the Miners (1985), Manchester United: The Betrayal of a Legend (1989), The Complete Manchester United Trivia Fact Book (1996) and Michael Heseltine (1997). His best known work is Stranger Than Fiction (1995), an independent biography of Jeffrey Archer which is now in its fourth edition. In 2002 he published The Boss, a biography of the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Michael Crick rarely misses a Manchester United match and is an active member of the club's independent shareholders' organisation Shareholders United. Born in 1958, Crick was educated at Manchester Grammar School and New College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, founded the Oxford Handbook, edited Cherwell, and was President of the Oxford Union. He has one daughter, Catherine.
Robin Denselow is a graduate in English at New College, Oxford and joined the BBC as a producer and reporter on the African Service. He then worked as a producer on 24 Hours, The Money Programme and then as a reporter on Panorama.
He joined Newsnight as a full-time reporter when the programme first started in 1980, later presented the BBC2 music programme 8 Days A Week and then returned to Panorama.
Since 1992 , he has reported for Newsnight on major stories from all around the world, from Somalia, South Africa and Rwanda to India, Indonesia and Kosovo. He has also covered domestic issues such as the Lawrence Inquiry. In 1993 his report on 'Gulf War Syndrome' won the International TV Programming Award at the New York TV Festival, and in 1999 he won the One World Broadcasting Trust Television News Award for his report on the Third World debt and the education crisis in Tanzania..
He writes on popular and World music for the Guardian and is the author of a history of political pop, When The Music's Over.
Stephanie Flanders is Newsnight's Economics Correspondent.
Stephanie Flanders is a former speech writer and senior advisor to the US Treasury, where she worked on the management of the emerging market crises of 1997-99 as well as other global economic issues.
Most recently she was principal editor of the UN's 2002 Human Development Report: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World, in New York.
Between 1994 and 1997 Flanders was a leader writer and economics columnist with the FT in London. She has also worked as a reporter for the New York Times.
Martha Kearney was educated at Brighton and Hove High School, George Watson's College, Edinburgh and St Anne's College, Oxford. From 1980-1987 she worked for LBC/IRN Radio. She became a reporter on the AM breakfast show and later did stints presenting AM and the Nightline phone-in, finally ending up as a lobby correspondent for IRN. From 1987-1988 she worked on the Channel 4 programme A Week In Politics.
In 1988 Martha joined the BBC as a Reporter on BBC 1's On The Record, where she worked until 1994.
In her role as reporter on Newsnight (since 1994) she covered the General Election and other political stories throughout the year, as well as extensive reporting from Northern Ireland. She has also made a series of films ahead of the Beijing Women's Conference (on feminism and Islam and women's rights in Nicaragua) and a series on child prostitution in Nepal and America. She was nominated for a BAFTA in May 1999 for her coverage of the Northern Ireland Peace Process in 1998.
Peter has been a Newsnight correspondent since 1987, reporting from around the UK and Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. He spent much of the last decade covering the U.S. This meant far too many hours investigating Bill Clinton's below- waist hyper-activity and, latterly, George Bush's supposed above-neck inactivity. He has also now covered nine U.S. presidential and congressional elections for BBC TV or radio.
Peter joined the BBC in 1978 after three years in Independent Radio where he had been political editor at Radio City. After a stint in the BBC's parliamentary unit at Westminster - in the final days of the Callaghan government - he transferred to BBC Radio's The World At One and The World This Weekend, remaining there for the next six years before transferring to TV.
He has made a number of documentaries for television and radio, including "Digging the Dirt" on the 2000 U.S. election campaign, "Cops On Drugs" and "To Catch A Cop" for Panorama. He has written for most of the national press and various magazines.
Peter's investigations into the wrongful dismissal of a Metropolitan Police sergeant won Newsnight the Race in the Media (RIMA) Award in 2001.
Clubs: Liverpool F.C.; Honours: Survival (swimming, bronze, 1964).
Paul Mason is Newsnight's business and industrial correspondent. He joined the programme in 2001.
Before that he was deputy editor of Computer Weekly, a campaigning magazine whose investigative team regularly broke stories that made waves across government and industry. He spent a total of nine years covering business in magazines and newspapers before making the move into TV.
Prior to becoming a journalist Paul was a professional musician and lectured at Loughborough University of Technology. He was born in 1960 in Leigh, Greater Manchester. He was educated at Thornleigh Salesian College, Sheffield University and London University.
Paul's mission on Newsnight is to tell the story of business from the inside and to bring into the limelight the people who actually make businesses, charities and public services work. He aims to put the actions of industry regulators, lobby groups and ministers under the microscope.
The decision to add a business correspondent to Newsnight's team reflects the BBC's wider aim for more thorough coverage of business issues. Paul works in tandem with Newsnight's Economics Editor.
David Sells is a reporter, specialising in foreign affairs. He began life as a greenhorn with Reuters. He was a Reuters correspondent in Rome and Warsaw, Chief Correspondent in Germany, then manager in Brussels.
Management was not his forte, so he answered a call from the BBC. ("I resign," he told the Reuters boss. "Don't be a fool," the boss replied. "If you resign I can't pay you any money. I have to sack you." Thus was a simple lesson learned).
He joined the BBC in 1966 as a Radio and TV reporter. He found 1968 a busy year: the riots in Paris, impending upheaval in Prague, then some months in Vietnam (with a small world scoop on President Johnson's bombing halt). From 1971-76 he was TV Correspondent in Beirut, the first of a new foreign breed for TV News. In 1976 he presented Radio-4's The World in Focus.
He has been with Newsnight since it began in 1980, doing its first foreign report (from Oman). David combined Newsnight with presenting Radio-4's The World Tonight for five years and does occasional documentaries.
Mark Urban is Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor. He came to the programme after being Middle East Correspondent for BBC News, a general reporter for Newsnight and Defence Correspondent of The Independent newspaper. Before that he also worked behind the camera as an assistant producer on various programmes.
Mark's years on Newsnight have taken him to many of the biggest foreign news stories of the past decade: the Gulf War; 1991 Coup in Moscow; 1993 events in Moscow; Bosnian war; Middle East peace process; Russian as well as Israeli elections and the conflict in Kosovo. He is the author of several books including "Big Boys' Rules: The Secret Struggle Against the IRA" and "UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence".
He was born in London and is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Mark also served in the Army - for nine months as a regular officer and four years in the Territorials.
Susan Watts joined Newsnight in January 1995, when the programme decided to strengthen its coverage of scientific issues. Since then, science, health, medicine and technology - and how they affect the way we live - have become central themes on the programme.
Susan has broken major national stories on issues including GM food, human cloning and HIV vaccines. She was also responsible for much of Newsnight's coverage of the unfolding BSE crisis, for which Newsnight gained a BAFTA award. This year she won the RTS award for Specialist Journalism for her coverage of genetically-modified food and human genetic science.
Susan joined the programme after ten years in science journalism in print. Immediately prior to Newsnight she was Science and Technology Correspondent for The Independent newspaper, where she won many awards for her investigative journalism, including the Environment Council's Science in the Environment award for a story on Oxfordshire tests of engineered crops.
She was Technology Correspondent at New Scientist magazine in the late 1980s, and before that, News Editor at Computer Weekly. She has a degree in physics from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.
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