Kate Adie in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith

Kate Adie
in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith

I joined in as a junior correspondent, being slotted from 8pm to 8am. One day I was called in to fill for a senior correspondent and as a good junior I filled in and that's how I got on the show. My friends and family keep telling me Just hang in there, you'll get your chance.

I never intended to go into journalism, I never thought about doing it. It's a very different world. I have always been very candid about how I got into it. The organisation I got into was big.

Television is about the sound bite. I concentrated on people. The world is full of the most amazing people and they have within them some absolutely exciting stories.  You learn to cope up with all business on-air. It's your job to put things what people say, on-air. I learnt a lot from local radio.

Why does China affects you?

I was the 8th reporter to be flown into China by BBC. What I saw was that people weren't demonstrating for democracy but more freedom and rights. The demonstrations went on for three months but they were completely non violent and utterly peaceful. But of course the government didn't like this, because it threatened the Communist regime.

When they ordered Army to tackle the demonstrators, it was a Terrible scene. There were thousands of innocents, some passer-bys, who were confronted by fully armed soldiers firing mercilessly.

There is a moment of fear for Journalists, but I knew THIS IS BIG. There is a sense of responsibility as a journalist, to do your best, to rise to the occassion. The army continued the rampage from midnight to 5 in the morning intimidating and drove everyone away from Tinamin Square. You realise it was momentous and terrible. How can a country use it army to attack its own people?

In places where life is difficult, you have to take decisions about risk. It was hell, horrible, upsetting, tragic, decent and innocent people were killed. You know what you got to do is to go as far as you can to see what is happening, verify what's going on.

But most importantly, you've got to be in a physically fit condition to deliver your story. So you can go only as far where you can come back. There are times when you know, DON'T GO ANY FURTHER. You realise your luck has absolutely run out. That's when you say to yourself, pull out.

We knew Chinese will deny this, they completely reject it. We needed the evidence. There was absolute carnage and we were in the middle of it. You have to get a TV shot and for that you have to be still, absolutely still, which wasn't just possible.

How is it reporting from the front-line?

There was never a front-line. The while way of covering was is to get as near as possible. To do that you have to insert yourself into a side.

24 hours NEWS channel is an animal which eats, eats and eats. And no organisation in world can feed it with fresh news every 10 minutes. You have to fill the time. Now, how do you fill the time?

Speculate: Just stand there, outside the event centre and speculate. Speculation is another form of new.

Deliver a detailed background and rub it on and on and speculate of likely outcome.

What you are getting in description, analysis indicates reporting.

There is a sense that 24-hour NEWS channel is live. But you are going live from a distance, from a long distance from the action.

I am fascinated by how other people do media. You can tell what you are going to get by watching people.

NEWS is moving into the entertainment world. It's becoming friendly, its getting cosy and appealing. Entertainment has to appeal. You don't entertain people by dreadful things. It's becoming show-bizzy, not driven by journalism. Worldwide, TV NEWS is being used as an entertainment transmission.

When it first started, it was called NEWS BULLETIN, Bulletin was straight, formal and serious. Then it became NEWS PROGRAMME, more relaxing and wider. Now its  called a SHOW, a SHOW, its shifting. NEWS has become show-bizzy, journalism is there, but it's under pressure, it's changing.