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NEWS > Alumnae News > A Bird's Eye View of History

A Bird's Eye View of History

On Coronation Day, Strategic Communications Adviser Katie Blake, Class of 2004, had a ringside view of arrivals and departures at Westminster Abbey, thanks to her role with US TV network CBS.

“Having started out my career working for Historic Royal Palaces, I’m a huge fan of the royal family, so it was just amazing to be so close, a real pinch me moment. As a PR, I deal with journalists every day, so it was fascinating to be on the other side and peak behind the curtains at a global event to see history in the making.”

Katie first worked with CBS in 2011 when she was based at the Tower of London when William and Kate got married. A last-minute flight cancellation left the broadcaster short of staff, so she stepped in to fill the breach. Since then, she has worked with them on all major royal events, including the wedding of Harry and Megan and the Queen’s funeral.

At the Coronation, her role as site manager based on the balcony of Methodist Central Hall opposite the Abbey, saw her ensuring a glitch-free 48 hours of tense production with the live feed to America.

Katie used her extensive network of contacts to help with fact checking and running orders, and put her cool head to good use problem-solving last-minute issues like procuring gaffer tape to secure cabling or finding TV anchors who had gone AWOL just minutes before talking live to the nation.

“It was stressful,” she concedes, “But to be honest, it was like a holiday from my day job! It’s always wonderful to be a part of such a professional team, who really care about getting it right. And, as a big royalist, it is such an honour to be a part of those big royal moments. That really is the icing on the cake.”

Katie adds: “I’d really recommend that pupils show a bit of gumption and get work experience shadowing someone in an industry they’re interested in.  It’s an invaluable way to start to build contacts and find out your passions. And you never know where it might lead.”

 

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