June 17, 2005 | 2:35 p.m. EDT

What it was really like in Santa Maria, Calif.

Another reason to tune in tonight... a special look back on the Michael Jackson trial.  Correspondent Mike Taibbi covered the spectacle for NBC News.  In an article he wrote for MSNBC.com after closing arguments ended , he made no secret of his distaste for the assignment.  But there was one silver lining — his son, Matt, also covered the trial, for Rolling Stone magazine.  So father and son spent months together in Santa Maria, Calif., a rarity in a family of working journalists.  Tonight, as Father's Day weekend approaches, Mike and Matt reflect on the experience.

June 17, 2005 | 1:08 p.m. EDT

Iranians head to the polls

NBC's Preston Mendenhall is in Tehran, Iran today as that country holds national elections.  MSNBC.com spoke with him just before the polls closed.  Here's a link to that Q&A.   Preston will have a full wrap of the Iranian elections on tonight's broadcast.

June 17, 2005 | 7:15 a.m. EDT

Tonight's promoted story on Nightly News

Millions of young Americans and their parents celebrated college graduation last month.  Now what?  The job market for grads is actually brighter than it's been in years, but only if you know where to look. Find out which industries have a future, and which ones are going away.

June 16, 2005| 4:06 p.m. EDT

NBC's Campbell Brown
I'm sitting in the chair tonight for Brian Williams. His parting words to me, "Don't screw up." Of course, he was kidding. Um, I hope he was kidding?!

On a more serious note, our focus tonight is Iraq... in particular, new pressure on the Bush administration to define an exit strategy. The pressure now is coming from some Republicans, who are joining many Democrats in demanding the White House outline a strategy for reducing the American presence in Iraq. But there are also whispers on both sides of the aisle that the White House may really feel the heat in the form of budget requests for the war. If Republicans begin whittling away at funding, it will signal that the tide has really turned.

We will also look at the increasing danger to U.S. forces in the wake of an attack that killed five Marines, all part of the same Humvee crew. U.S. officials say insurgents are developing and using more sophisticated and more lethal tactics against American forces.

Also, stunning pictures out of Zimbabwe, Africa. President Robert Mugabe has launched what he calls an urban clean-up campaign. But pictures show he is wiping out villages, including an AIDS orphanage, in what seems to be retribution against his political opponents.

I hope you'll will join us for those stories and much more tonight.

June 16, 2005 | 8:26 a.m. EDT

Tonight's promoted story on Nightly News

If you're hitting the road this summer, you'll no doubt spend time driving next to 18-wheelers. Is it safe? A highway crackdown has turned up a growing number of dangerous big rigs and drivers. With the roads more crowded than ever, how can you protect yourself from this dangerous combination?

June 15, 2005 | 4:32 p.m. EDT

False alarms on both coasts (Brian Williams)

Perhaps the best way to express 9/11 syndrome here in New York to our viewers living to the North, South and West of the Delaware Water Gap, would be an example from our afternoon editorial meeting today. The power went out halfway through our meeting... lights out momentarily, phones went out... all of it followed by a plume of black smoke on the roof of the building adjacent to ours (seconds later we realized it was the diesel generators starting up). For a split second, some facial expressions turned blank, in a way that didn't used to be the case. Whether people admit it or not, our initial thoughts and reflexes have changed and for good reason.

Tonight's broadcast, whether brought to you by AC, battery or generator, will feature a mix of all of the following at the top: An update on the Bush administration's thinking on Gitmo, an update on the situation in Iraq (including a new boldness on the part of the insurgency) and a seismic primer for those of us wondering what's shaking in the earth's crust. It was no laughing matter when tsunami sirens sounded along parts of the West Coast last night , and our own James Hattori will report on it.

Also tonight, the political frustrations of the party that controls the White House and both houses of Congress. David Gregory looks at the perils of command for President Bush. We'll also look at the Schiavo autopsy results , a story that has dominated the cable news channels today. And we'll look into a common and maddening American condition — sleeplessness. Is medication okay if the alternative is insomnia?

June 15, 2005 | 9:20 a.m. EDT

Tonight's promoted story on Nightly News

Millions of Americans climb into bed every night but never fall asleep. From pills to hypnosis, they've tried it all to beat insomnia, and still toss and turn. What's the answer? Get the newest information on ways to beat sleeplessness.

June 14, 2005 | 4:07 p.m. EDT

Tonight on Nightly News (Brian Williams)

At or near the top of tonight's broadcast will be a superb piece of reporting by our own Preston Mendenhall in Iran , having to do with that nation's nuclear program. Additionally, we'll have an update tonight on the incendiary topic of the memoranda trail within the Blair government that, to quote this morning's New York Times, portray the Bush Administration as "bent on war with Iraq by the summer of 2002, and insufficiently prepared for post-invasion problems." While for a number of reasons this story has been slow to build up steam in the United States, we've been watching it closely and have reported on it previously. We'll offer some new reporting on the topic tonight from our Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

Also tonight, we will happily take a glance at the Jackson trial in our rear-view mirror (personally, it's my favorite view of the proceedings), with a summation of the victory, the damage and the Monday morning quarterbacking going on in legal circles. And Anne Thompson will report on a huge topic of interest in New England of late: The scourge of the Red Tide, and the state of emergency declaration by the governor of Massachusetts. Having just visited Maine, I recently learned first-hand what a huge economic impact this is having. Mark Potter will have a look at yesterday's crash of the World War II-era DC-3 near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and the heroic effort of the pilot (who lived to accept the thanks of a grateful neighborhood) to ditch the vintage plane on pavement, thus avoiding homes and people. And we will close the broadcast tonight with a look at a very old man with very little privacy: King Tut.

One more note from last night's broadcast: I've been overwhelmed at the e-mail response to a closing note I wrote last night. It was designed to offer some perspective on the Jackson trial, and it evidently touched a nerve among members of our audience. Thanks to those of you who have written, and we sure hope you can join us this evening.

June 14, 2005 | 11:55 a.m. EDT

Reflections on the Jackson trial (Brian Williams)

Editor's note: Many viewers e-mailed us wanting to read Brian's closing note from Monday's broadcast on the Web site.  I have reproduced it below.

Finally, tonight, a little perspective following the conclusion of a spectacle of a trial.

A lot of people, especially those who write to and e-mail us, have wondered about the importance of covering the molestation trial of a 46-year-old pop star, whose best professional moments may well be behind him.

While we have tried very hard to limit coverage of the Jackson trial to the most newsworthy days in the proceedings, a great man who used to occupy this chair often said: We can't be above the news, either.

Here's where the perspective comes in: In the time since Jackson's arrest, a president's been elected, a pope has died and been replaced, a tsunami has changed the world and Iraqis have voted. Also, consider this: Since the Jackson arrest, 1,302 Americans have died and another 11,000 have been wounded, in two armed conflicts overseas.

Tonight, at long last, it is time to move on.

June 14, 2005 | 6:18 a.m. EDT

Tonight's promoted story on Nightly News

Summer vacation: You plan months ahead and hope for good weather. But no one expects this: Something poisonous invades the water for hundreds of miles in every direction, making some types of shellfish deadly to eat. It's happening here in the U.S. and millions of vacationers are being affected.

June 13, 2005 | 5:35 p.m. EDT

Editor's note: Now that Michael Jackson was found not guilty on all counts against him , the broadcast is dropping the Bob Faw story about Baltimore and adding analysis from a pair of respected legal minds.  Baltimore fans, don't worry, we'll bring you the story in the days ahead.

June 13, 2005 | 3:40 p.m. EDT

Tonight's jam-packed broadcast (Brian Williams)

As the staff of Nightly News shakes off the effects of a hot, humid weekend, we have just emerged from the climate-controlled confines of the afternoon editorial meeting, and it is clear that the broadcast tonight will need to cover a lot of ground in the 30 minutes the network has allotted to us.

We will more than likely begin with an examination of the latest film (actual film, and not videotape this time) of Saddam Hussein, and what the pictures tell us about his condition and the circumstances. We'll take a look at the British role in the Iraq war, the state of the debate over Gitmo, and today's Supreme Court ruling on the diversity of juries.

We have a unique view of the controversial subject of U.S. border security with Mexico, and will close the broadcast tonight with a great piece by Bob Faw on the unique distinction given recently to Baltimore, Maryland. Suffice it to say a great city is finally getting the worldwide recognition it deserves, and we will do our small part tonight to help that along.

And I've just been told we have a verdict in the Michael Jackson trial. So, as they say, developing...

Editor's note: You can listen to live audio of the verdict being read from Santa Maria, Calif. here.

June 13, 2005 | 11:46 a.m. EDT

Lucy, the Williams' family's dog

On Friday, Brian mentioned the Dateline special "Pet Nation" hosted by Al Roker. It's now live on the Dateline Web site.  For Brian's pet story and photo, check out the NBC News slide show as well.

June 13, 2005| 11:13 a.m. EDT

Tonight's promoted story on Nightly News

Illegal immigration is a political headache on both sides of the border. But it's also now a thriving business. From transportation to desert supplies, border jumping has spawned a cottage industry and new headaches for law enforcement. Mark Mullen reports on how the search for a better life has fueled a way of life.

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