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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 17:32 GMT
Adie quits frontline reporting
Kate Adie
Kate Adie will no longer report from the frontline
Veteran BBC journalist Kate Adie has left her post as BBC chief news correspondent to concentrate on presenting, but has denied she is leaving the corporation.

The Media Guardian website reported that Adie "quit the BBC on the eve of the expected war with Iraq - unexpectedly ending a 34-year career".

But the BBC said Adie did not consider herself having "quit the BBC", adding she was moving from frontline reporting to being a freelance presenter.

She will continue to regularly present BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent, report for international channel BBC World plus present a documentary on US writer and journalist Martha Gelhorn for BBC Four.

John Simpson
Kate really paved the way for television war correspondents

John Simpson
BBC world affairs editor
Richard Sambrook, head of BBC News, paid tribute to Adie's achievements, saying: "Kate Adie is one of the greatest correspondents of our time.

"During the course of the last year she and I have been in discussions as to how she might work on a wider range of BBC programmes and agreed that moving to freelance status would allow her this flexibility.

He added that he was "delighted" she would continue to appear regularly on the BBC.

John Simpson, the editor of the BBC's World Affairs Unit, said Adie would "always be regarded with admiration".


"Kate is a real icon of war reporting in the best tradition of Martha Gellhorn," he said.

"She really paved the way for television war correspondents."

And former Breakfast presenter and correspondent Jeremy Bowen described Adie as a "legend", saying: "It's the end of an era. She wrote the book on front line reporting and she'll leave a big gap."

Diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall also paid tribute to Adie's reporting.

"Kate is not just fearless and with a style all of her own, get into conversation with Kate about any world crisis, and her comments are always enlightening and to the point. She'll be greatly missed from frontline reporting", Ms Kendall told News Online.

Adie, 57, had been the BBC's chief news correspondent until December, when she decided to go freelance, the corporation's spokeswoman said, adding that the post will no longer exist.

The BBC also pointed out that several of the corporation's high-profile TV reporters were not staff either.

Big break

Kate Adie
She made her name as a war correspondent
Adie, who was made an OBE in 1993, gained international kudos for her reports from China, the Gulf War and the Balkans.

The Sunderland-born reporter, with a degree in Scandinavian studies, joined the BBC in 1968 as a radio studio technician.

After becoming a news reporter, she got her big break in 1980 when she was sent to cover the Iranian Embassy siege.

She soon became synonymous with the BBC's coverage of wars and trouble spots, and later covered the Libyan Embassy siege in 1984 and the death of the first Irish hunger striker.


In 1989 she witnessed the Chinese authorities crack down on dissenters in Tiananmen Square.

She also covered conflicts in Kuwait, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Albania.

Adie, however, has been philosophical about her reputation as a tough war correspondent.

"I never desired to go into war zones," she said.

"I never had any thought about it. It sort of just happened as part of the job."

See also:

16 Jun 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
28 Aug 02 | Entertainment
19 Mar 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 01 | UK
10 Oct 01 | UK
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