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Nov 16 / Sebastian Lena

B/R internship: A second chance after a career mistake

Sebastian LenaFor the Love of the Page is a series in which current and former Bleacher Report Sportswriting Interns explain why they write and what they’ve learned.

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In the spring of 2010 I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when I was given a shot at the Boston Globe. However, it was my downfall at the paper that provided me with a more valuable lesson. At the Globe I worked as one of the Sports Hawks—essentially the secretaries of the sports newsroom—with several other aspiring journalists.

While getting the chance to see my name in the paper was definitely the selling point, being able to exchange communication with the likes of Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy was priceless. The highlight: screaming at the top of my lungs in unison with Ryan as Landon Donovan catapulted the U.S. Men’s Soccer team into the knockout round of the 2010 World Cup.

However, while many young writers would capitalize on such a privileged opportunity, I ultimately did the complete opposite. After a small dispute with my supervisor, I made the unwise decision to walk away from my “dream job” only 10 months in. It’s a decision that still haunts me.

As the former Sports Editor and Business Manager for the University of Massachusetts Boston’s student newspaper, I had grown accustomed to hearing fellow students, professors and editors applaud me on my writing abilities.

But instead of using their feedback as a building block to strengthen a growing work-in-progress, I received it the way an egotistical artist would take praise at an exhibition displaying his completed masterpiece.

To put it simply: I let it all go to my head.

As a result, two years, several unsuccessful newspaper applications and a couple plea-filled e-mails to the Boston Globe later, I was still without a writing job. At that point I nearly considered dropping writing for good.

That’s where Bleacher Report came in.

I had written on B/R during my downtime in the past. I specifically loved how the platform provided aspiring writers with the opportunity to reach and communicate with a large group of readers. As a journalist, that can sometimes be more rewarding than a paycheck. So when I heard about the B/R Sportswriting Internship, it was a no-brainer for me to apply

Five weeks in and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Not only has the internship allowed me to regain the passion and love I once had for writing, but it has pushed my writing abilities to a gear I didn’t even know I had. With each passing week I am learning something new.

The one-on-one feedback from the editors, the grueling weekly assignments and the increased exposure all make this internship not only a great learning tool, but the opportunity of a lifetime.

As my former supervisor at the Boston Globe informed me when he told me he could not bring me back, “You only get one shot to not only make a first impression, but also to earn a reputation.” However, the B/R internship has exemplified that that’s not always the case.

As a result, no matter where my career leads, I’ll have B/R to thank for teaching me a valuable lesson in life. But most importantly, for taking a chance on me when nobody else did. Sometimes we all need a second chance.

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Sebastian Lena is a writing intern in B/R’s Fall class. Follow him on Twitter @SP7988


  • Greg Pearl

    Great story, Sebastian. And an excellent reminder for all of us to stay hungry!

  • Travis

    Keep up the good work. We all want you to succeed!

  • Mohamed Al-Hendy

    I can definitely relate to this. If I had the time to go through the internship, I would, but alas I do not. I do think that this is great advice though for anyone interested in pursuing journalism as a career.