Henry Burrell - Staff Writer Henry Burrell - Staff Writer

Henry BurrellQualification

BA American Studies

Date Graduated

2013

Employer

Staff Writer, IDG UK

 

How has your career developed since graduating?

Since graduating I’ve had three jobs and I now work as a journalist for IDG UK. Leaving university to pursue a career is daunting, and I hadn’t sorted out a proper role by the time I left UEA but I knew I wanted to work in sport or technology journalism.

I worked in tech PR in London for two years, learning the industry and improving my writing, before moving to my current role.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?

I particularly enjoy writing reviews of phones and laptops, stuff like that, as you have to step back and think about how to write in an engaging yet informative manner – it’s not all about impressing the reader, you also have to cover what they want to learn.

What made you decide to study American Studies at UEA?

The UEA course came with an excellent reputation, and even now I remember the open day was much more impressive than other universities.

The other obvious draw was the option to study abroad. A third year in the States with a chance to experience not only the country but also its education system was too good not to pursue.

What skills did you learn at UEA?

Looking back, it taught me the value of research along with self-discipline when it comes to working. Being able to research a theme in a novel or a certain subculture, and then translating that into engaging writing is incredibly difficult, even more so in humanities when there’s technically no ‘right’ answer.

How do you use these skills in your current role?

As a journalist I use these skills every day. Researching certain topics for writing a story or tutorial is key in my role, as is being culturally aware. It’s hard to digest sources and media, reliable and unreliable as some are, but my awareness stems largely from analytical skills I learnt at university.

What was it like to study abroad?

My year abroad helped enormously to understand the American culture that I was studying. Living in San Francisco helped me to understand how to better interact with people, despite there not being a language barrier. I learned there’s a difference in always being yourself and the need to adjust to how different cultures interact and how people behave.

Did you participate in any clubs or societies?

I presented on Livewire, a student-led radio station. It helped me to be creative and assertive, but it also taught me to expand my music tastes and realise that there’s more to broadcasting than just playing what you think is good – this helped inform what I do as a writer now, trying to write what the audience wants, not just what I think they need to know.