Real lessons flow from role at Fox Sports

“Don’t be a dumbass!” – I heard those four words a few times from my supervisor Mike Happy while serving as an editorial intern last term at FOX Sports Detroit.

As digital content editor at FSD, Happy holds true to the highest standards in his line of work.

A former online editor at The New York Times and The Detroit News, he embraces a work ethic that aims for near perfection. It was a plateau I fell short of on two notable occasions during my internship, and he let me know in the tough but endearing language of a one-time military man.

Internships are supposed to be learning experiences, but I still felt embarrassed to have disappointed my boss on those two occasions.

Being unable to deliver productive results all the time made me realize something about myself.

It brought me to the realization that even though I know and love sports and feel capable of accomplishing the requirements of the job, I am only human, a person with weaknesses, as well as strengths. And I was actively learning on the job.

My strengths as a competent writer and knowledgeable sports journalist could not overcome my lack of preparation in promptly finding out whether the username-password combo for the FSD laptop worked during my first weekend on the job.

That was a “dumbass” move.

But at the end of the day, it wasn’t life-altering, and no one’s life was harmed as a result of the miscue – as Happy told me while calming me down during a time of panic.

The lesson: While my production wasn’t where Happy or I wanted it to be, it wasn’t the end of the world, and that was a surprisingly hard realization for someone who had joined the workforce for the first time.

The true value of an internship isn’t in measuring the number of mistakes made. Instead, it is in assessing whether the lessons learned were valuable to me.

As a novice in the sports media industry, I had to learn lessons. And they came through my tutelage by the sometimes intimidating Mike Happy.

Now, it’s on me to continue to get better every single day, one of my resolutions for 2015.


Chirco is VN sports editor