Since flying into Los Angeles earlier this week, famed BBC foreign correspondent Kate Adie has been busy. On Thursday, the 66-year-old journalist was commenting for BBC radio and other international outlets about the capture and killing of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. Today, from the BBC’s LA offices, she will tape the latest edition of her twice-weekly Radio 4 program From Our Own Correspondent.
That show incidentally has been on the air continuously since 1950. Adie took over hosting duties about eleven years ago and for her incredibly storied, globetrotting reporting career, she will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from DC’s International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) at a ceremony in Los Angeles October 24 and again in New York on October 27. If anyone deserves to twice be honored by the same organization for “Courage in Journalism,” it is Adie.
“I’ve lost count of the times I have been in so-called danger,” Adie tells FishbowlLA via telephone from LA. “Over nearly 30 years, I have found that each place has its own dangers and risks. To me, I didn’t ever rate ‘my danger.’ It’s just one of the elements you might encounter, and I have never sought out a dangerous life.”
The bio put out by IWMF for Adie is one of the best media handouts FishbowlLA has read in some time. It’s chock full of great colleague quotes and highlights just the right amount of info about Adie’s reporting from Bosnia, Afghanistan, Russia and elsewhere. As Stephen Claypoole, the former CEO of AP TV News puts it: “Kate appeared at so many turbulent datelines that it led to the saying, ‘Never mind the sheriff, when Katie Adie hits town it’s time to get out of Dodge City.’”
Adie confirms she has been asked so many times (including by this reporter) about her most dangerous foreign posting that she finally decided, in her recent fourth book, to look into the world’s truly risky professions. The occupation that ultimately topped the list is ripe for a historical treatise, she says; while researching, she was unable to find any authoritative compendium of food tasters.
“I wrote about fundamental missionaries, stunt men, bodyguards,” she recalls. “But I think I lighted upon the most dangerous occupation, both historically and in modern times—food taster. These people still exist. I couldn’t find any full account of the job. One of the reasons I think is powerful people that feel the need for a food taster won’t tell, because it suggests how unpopular they might be.”
At Monday’s dinner, actor Aaron Eckhart will present Adie with her award. Also receiving courageous recognition from the IWMF will be Zeta editor Adela Navarro Bello, Iran Reuters bureau chief Parisa Hafezi and Thai journalist Chiranuch Premchaiporn. ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden will host the Monday night LA dinner, while PBS’ Judy Woodruff will handle New York City MC duties on Thursday.