I was interviewing with the Denver Broncos, our local NFL team, for an “New Media” internship in college. I grew up a huge Broncos fan, and it was a great opportunity, so I was very excited about the interview. If I landed the job, I’d be writing for the team’s site, helping with design, shooting sideline video on gameday (home and away), and getting to rub elbows with some of my heroes.
This particular interview was done panel-style. Three Broncos employees were questioning me about my portfolio and a Broncos website I ran, where I wrote articles about the team and players.
At the time I was young and dumb. In these articles I had taken quotes from different sources and not always attributed them. Young me didn’t see it as a big deal as I was writing the articles more or less as practice pieces, assuming that the quotes came from press conferences I couldn’t attend. As my website had a monthly viewership around 5, I wasn’t too concerned about any serious complaints despite knowing that this was a huge no-no in the journalistic world.
That wasn’t the case. Several of the quotes came from exclusive DenverBroncos.com pieces, although the pieces made no mention of the exclusivity of the interview. What was worse was that the person who had conducted the interview and wrote the pieces was one of my interviewers.
Of course I was called out on it - rightfully so. I explained my reasoning and apologized profusely, making sure to state that it would never happen again.
I thought that was the end of my chances. I went home rather depressed about it, but telling myself that I had learned a hard lesson that would serve me well in the future.
A couple of months later, I got a call from the team offering me the job. It was absolutely amazing, and still one of my favorite times in my life. It lead to so many great memories, like getting run over by a Carolina Panther in the end zone at Mile High.