Kate Adie (born September 19, 1945) is a British journalist. Her most high-profile role was that of chief news reporter for BBC News during which time she became well-known for reporting from war zones from around the world.
Adie was born in Northumberland, within sight of St Mary's Island. She was, however, adopted by a Sunderland couple and grew up in the city. She is an avid fan of the city's football team, Sunderland A.F.C.. She had a private school education at Sunderland Church High School and Newcastle University where she took a degree in Scandinavian Studies. Her career with the BBC stints as a station assistant at Radio Durham and Radio Brighton before producing shows for Radio Bristol. She then switched to television, directing outside broadcasts. Stints in front of the camera followed on local TV news broadcasts in Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton. She joined the national news team in 1979, working initially as a court correspondent.
Her big break was the Iranian Embassy siege of 1980. At that time it represented a breakthrough for women journalists as until that time warzones and other hotspots were the preserve of male journalists. As that afternoon's duty reporter, Adie was first on the scene as the SAS stormed the embassy. The BBC interrupted coverage of the World Snooker Championships and Adie reported live and unscripted to one of the largest news audiences ever whilst crouched behind a car door.
Adie was regularly dispatched to report on disasters and flare-ups throughout the 1980s, including the American bombing of Tripoli in 1986, which proved highly controversial with the Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit, and the Lockerbie bombing of 1988. She was promoted to Chief News Correspondent in 1989 and held the role for fourteen years. One of her first assignments was to report from the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Major assignments followed in the Gulf War, war in the former Yugoslavia, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and the British evacuation of foreign nationals from Sierra Leone in 2000. In 2003 Adie withdrew from front-line reporting. She currently works as a freelance journalist and public speaker. Kate Adie presents From our own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4.
Her close-to-the-action approach once caused her to be shot at by an "irate Libyan". The shot nicked her collar bone but she didn't suffer permanent harm.
Adie published a best-selling autobiography in 2002 which sharply criticized changing practices at BBC News. A second book, Corsets to Camouflage: Women and War, was published in 2003. Most recently, in 2005, Adie published her third book 'Nobody's Child.' This uncovers the problems of adoption and questions of identity.
Most press reports indicate that Adie is an intensely private woman and say, with a hint of irritation, that little is known about her beyond her work at the BBC. Perhaps this explains why there was intense media interest when Adie met her biological parents (she was adopted at birth) for the first time in 1993. When the Mail on Sunday suggested that her "fearless reporter" image was a baseless myth, Adie sued, won, and was awarded ┬ú125,000 in damages.
Adie was awarded the OBE in 1993 and the Richard Dimbleby Award from BAFTA in 1990. She has honorary degrees from six universities, is an Honorary Professor of Journalism at University of Sunderland and has an Honorary Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London.