‘A privilege’ was how Kate Adie OBE described her journalistic career, including long service as the BBC’s Chief News Correspondent.
To an audience of over 600 at Prior’s Field, Godalming, she talked with humour and humility about dispatching reports from danger zones around the world, saying ‘it is the people on the ground that the story should be about; we can always go home’.
As a television news correspondent, Kate Adie’s memorable assignments include both Gulf Wars, four years of war in the Balkans, the massacre at Dunblane, the SAS lifting of the Iran Embassy Siege in London and the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing. Shot herself more than once, she was one of the first British women to report from combat zones.
Risks were worth taking, she said, because reporting war – in all its horror – is essential to giving those involved a voice and improving lives. With humour, she dispelled myths that TV reporting in such circumstances could ever be ‘glamorous’, describing bombed hotels on the front line, sometimes without walls, no electricity and week-old, used bath water being considered a luxury.
Often the only female among many men, Kate Adie gave historical context to how the role of women journalists – and women in the professions generally – has changed since her day and that of her parents’ generation, instigated by the World Wars. To the pupils at Prior’s Field, an all girls’ school, she spoke of the fantastic horizon of career choices now available, encouraging them to seize every opportunity. ‘Be curious about world events’, she advised, ‘and value the importance of history, because it repeats itself.’
Kate Adie’s talk was the latest in a series of annual lectures at Prior’s Field, open to the public, given in memory of the Godalming school’s founder Julia Huxley. For information about admissions to the GSA day and boarding school for 11-18 year olds, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.