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Kate Adie at Broadway

23 October 08 words: Cathy Adams
Comparing Nottingham to Libya: “Well, I’ve never seen the city centre on a Saturday night”. Well, Kate, you may be in for a treat if you hang around
Kate Adie - Photo by Ken Lennox

I was intrigued at the thought of seeing Kate Adie speaking in Nottingham. In retrospect, however, I think maybe the real reason she was there to report on the dangerous happenings in Nottingham. Or maybe to plug her new book Into Danger.

Adie is an interesting woman with many a tale to tell. It’s just a shame she didn’t tell them to us on Tuesday night. She’s enjoyed a great career with the BBC, and her talk took us through her childhood, her A-levels and her choice of degree course (Swedish and Icelandic studies, who would have guessed). All good background knowledge, you might argue, but I was there for the real blood and gore of her time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, she is hilariously witty: she recalled her time working for Durham local radio (she hails from the North East) when journalism was gritty and to the point. She then briefly explained how she “fell into” working for the BBC, where she described her time there as crazy and fast-paced, continually driving to and from Heathrow airport to get a plane to report from some far-flung place. Again I sat gripped, waiting for the tales of action from this far-flung place, but none came. So I listened on.

Although I don’t want to resort to the cliché of women being under-represented in the work sectors, Adie did bring up the fact that when she was starting out as a news journalist, the newsroom was almost entirely composed of men. She even joked that at the time, “women should be doing maybe a little teaching, possibly a little cookery. Then we were supposed to get married.” This is why she is such a revered figure after all, she is a women, reporting in these countries within the ‘axis of evil’.

The main point of her talk was the job of reporting and how to go about it. This was brief: she then emphasised that her job, as a reporter, was not as dangerous as other people’s professions: one example she gave was of an armed robber she met in Ireland. Amusing though this anecdote was, again I wanted to hear more about Adie’s dangerous experiences (she must have some, her book is called ‘Into Danger’ for Pete’s sake) rather than reverting to lazy comparisons.

Into Danger - Kate Adie Autobiography

After explaining how journalism now is much different to ‘back then’, no doubt to the hackneyed credit crunch, Adie again reverted back to describing the job of a stuntman, which obviously is more dangerous than that of a reporter’s: “they put their lives on the line every day”. I thought, well don’t you? That’s why I paid to hear you speak!

After I got over the disappointment that I wasn’t going to hear much about her experiences in the countries that made her famous, she culminated the talk with a few questions, most along the lines of the changing face of journalism. My future career appeared to dry up before my very eyes as she explains that everything is now more efficient; reporters multitask and the call for writers is much less. It appears that she got the best years out of the business. Great, cheers Kate. I’m probably not going to buy a copy of your book anymore.

Kate Adie on Wikipedia
Broadway Cinema and Media Centre

 

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