#MediaMonday – Samuel Burke

Today’s #MediaMonda comes to us from the United Kingdom, via Guadalajara, Mexico, and Central Phoenix.  It’s from three-time Emmy Award winner Samuel Burke, who is based in London and has been a reporter and anchor for CNN International for more than 10 years.

Samuel, time to share:

I’m based in London and for the last decade-plus I’ve worked with CNN and their overseas affiliate networks.

I grew up in Central Phoenix.  I went to North High School, then studied Spanish linguistics at La Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Mexico.  I went on to graduate summa cum laude from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University before earning my master’s degree in journalism from The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.  Now I serve on the Cronkite School National Board of Advisors.

My first work experience was all in the Valley, interning for NPR affiliate KJZZ-FM, writing for The Jewish News and then producing for ABC’s 20/20.

I then landed an internship at CNN with Anderson Cooper which paved the path for my career there.

My first job at CNN was as Christiane Amanpour’s digital and field producer.  At 25-years-old, I became one of the youngest anchors in CNN’s history when I began hosting a primetime program called “Europa Hoy” for CNN en Español.  Ironically, I did much more in Spanish, my second language, before I started reporting in English for CNN International.

Currently, I’m the host and executive producer of “Suddenly Family,” a podcast about families with stunning at-home DNA test results. I started documenting my own family’s life after three shocking results turned our world upside down. Eventually, I learned I’m not even related to the Burke family.

My top career highlights -to-date are:

  • Reporting from in the Middle East, particularly doing the Arab Spring — covering Egypt’s first-ever democratic elections, as well as reporting from Israel and the Palestinian territories.
  • Having to do Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s makeup for him when we realized it would be unacceptable to have the female makeup artist who was assigned to the interview do his makeup because it wouldn’t be seen as pious.
  • Now, the last two years creating the “Suddenly Family” podcast, documenting my own family and getting an intimate view of nearly a dozen other families around the world.

I love Spanish-language music. So much of my vocabulary in Spanish comes from listening to Shakira and the Mexican group Maná.

My favorite movie is Y tu mamá también. On the surface this film and its title seem like a just another boy’s movie, but really it’s about the inequities of Mexico’s class system.

I was CNN’s first digital producer and championed the TV side using social media. I’m still a big user, especially of Twitter and Instagram @samuelhburke but have become very skeptical of these platforms over the years – impacting our mental health negatively.

Photo courtesy of Leumas Productions

Written by
at Mar 29, 2021

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