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Ewan Paterson

Career Path: Comics Editor, WhatCulture Ltd.
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

I've desperately wanted to go into journalism since I was about fourteen years old. I've lived and breathed pop culture for even longer and, having discovered that I could make a career out of it, I set about doing everything I could to make it happen. I'd always loved history, and while it might not seem like an obvious route to a career in journalism, everything about the degree seemed to lend itself well to what I wanted to do.

I learned how to better write, present and research during my degree, and I did it all while learning about a fascinating subject in the process. While at uni, I was fortunate enough to come into a freelancing opportunity to write for a major online publication. Having blogged before in my spare time, the opportunity was fantastic, especially since I had enough free hours to spend writing outside of the degree itself.

What are you doing now?Ewan Paterson

I'm a writer, editor and video presenter. I write about comics primarily but film, TV, gaming and more have all been subjects that I've discussed both in articles and on camera.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

Everything about the course, really. It was clear from my Applicant Day that all the staff were super enthusiastic and indeed leaders in their own respective fields. Having had a strong interest in American History in particular, the strength of the History Department's American modules really swayed me. The library itself is also spectacular, obviously. Add to that the fact that Newcastle is an amazing city and you really do have the perfect place to study and spend your free time.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Studying at Northumbria was a really, really enjoyable experience. Lectures were delivered enthusiastically, seminars were engaging and every tutor encouraged people to participate. I really cannot emphasise just how important feedback was in helping me grow as both a historian and as a writer more generally. Tutors take plenty of time and care to read through student essays and provide tailormade feedback that's easy to understand, even if everything doesn't quite click the first time around. And again, City Campus provided a fantastic place to study. Even before the library upgrade, there were no shortage of great places to slip away and work up an essay or catch up on reading, or even to just catch up with friends for a chat.

How connected was your course with industry?

While my degree itself had no explicit links with the field I'm now working in, I was provided with an opportunity to go on placement during my second year of study. Doing so enabled me to visit the offices of the outlet I'd been freelancing for and helped me gain vital work experience in writing full-time. Subsequent (out of module) placements were then organised by myself and I'm now working at the same place full-time.

What was the best thing about your course?

Gah, that's so hard! If I had to pick out anything it would be the members of staff in the History Department themselves. There were always so helpful and understanding and just brilliant at what they do. If I had to pick out a favourite module, though, it would have to be Brian Ward's 'America in the 1960s'. Seriously, take this module if you get the chance!

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

My time at Northumbria helped me develop my skills as a writer, orator and presenter. You'll probably hear a lot about 'transferable skills' during your time in second year, but it really is true. Even if you're not looking to get into a career in academia, a degree in History is still really valuable and will benefit you in more ways than one. The nature of the degree itself also helped in that I had to really pace myself, particularly in my final year.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Writing skills more than anything, although my knowledge of seventies America has come in handy when discussing historical concepts in pop culture.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Spending time in an amazing city, with amazing people, at an amazing university.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Attend both an open day and an applicant day. My decision to study here really was cemented by the applicant day and again, be sure to really comb through the course you're looking to apply for. Northumbria boasts one of the best History Departments in the country and it really shows.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Three amazing years.

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