Adam Hoebelheinrich always wanted a job in front of the camera. As a kid, he envisioned himself reporting the evening news, or broadcasting live at a sporting event.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be an anchor or a reporter or anything in between – as long as I was on the air,” he said. “I made it all the way through college with these hopes until I realized how competitive it was to actually get one of those jobs.”
After graduating, Hoebelheinrich (journalism and mass communication, ’09) landed his first job putting together on-air sports packages for KCCI, Des Moines, Iowa’s CBS-affiliated television station. He was on camera, but the experience was short-lived. As the economy took a turn and media outlets struggled, Hoebelheinrich was laid-off. It was at that time, though, that he started to realize how many behind-the-camera jobs there were.
“For every on-air person, there were 15 people behind the scenes,” he said. “As soon as I saw that, I jumped into digital and video editing. Turns out, I loved it.”
Hoebelheinrich began sending his resume out to a handful of media businesses in the area, eventually extending his reach further than he ever imagined he would.
“When no on in the area was hiring, I applied for everything under the sun,” he said. “ESPN had an opening for a beginner-level operations technician in Bristol, Conn., and I had my doubts, because I really thought working at KCCI was the one. I figured anything bigger would be too competitive.”
Hoebelheinrich got the job at ESPN. It didn’t take him long to start taking on bigger jobs. Not long after he arrived, he was promoted to their lead content editor, a job he exceled at for almost four years, until the Midwest called him back.
Today, Hoebelheinrich is a video editor for the Green Bay Packers. He leads a team that creates compelling content for fans during the playing season and throughout the off-season.
Keeping fans up-to-date with a team that, in 2014, Forbes magazine declared to have the “Best Fans in the NFL,” is a busy job. Hoebelheinrich’s dedication is one reason he was named a 2016 STATEment Maker by the Iowa State University Alumni Association (the award honors young alumni who make a difference in ways that reflect the scholarly, entrepreneurial, or service-oriented spirit of an Iowa State education).
“The most challenging part of my job is to realize what our fans want and deliver that content in a current way,” he said. “Learning how to reel a person in when attention spans are short is difficult. We still want to tell a story, but how we do that is changing everyday.”
In addition to spotlighting the team’s biggest players, his team creates content that features new or lesser-known teammates so fans can get a picture of the whole team. He also showcases what players do during the off season, including community leadership and working with kids.
This year, he’s leading a new effort for the Packers, a weekly television program called “Packers Today,” which began airing last fall in conjunction with Brett Favres’ induction into the Hall of Fame.
Hoebelheinrich’s time at Iowa State prepared him for his career in sports media. He couldn’t wait to get to the ISUtv studio after class, and he said that passion for TV hasn’t changed in the 10 years he’s been working for sports networks.
“I’m so glad I picked ISU,” he said. “Everyday, I was surrounded by students who had as much drive as I had. My journalism group was so much fun to be a part of; it taught me about the importance of teamwork. That’s a big part of working in this industry: Learning how to work with a group of people who have big, different personalities.”
Favorite ISU memory: The first time I was on camera for ISUtv. It was for a show my friend and I created called Cyclone Sports Live. It’s still around today. We showed up 30 minutes before the show was going to air. It was so much fun to be on live TV.
Toughest class I survived: My journalism 315 class. We had to make our own websites and use HTML and CSS. It was hard, and I told myself it was something I’d never use again. Now, I work in HTML and CSS everyday. It goes to show that you can never say, “I’m never going to use that.”
What I would tell my 20-year old self: Give up on being on the air because it’s so much better to be behind the camera! Plus, you won’t have to shave everyday.
Advice for new graduates: Aim for the fences. Having confidence in yourself is half the battle when it comes to getting a job. Employers are taking chances on young people – go after the job you want.
Adam Hoebelheinrich is one of six 2016 STATEment Makers from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Meet more LAS STATEment Makers:
Jacob Wilson, political science and women’s and gender studies ’11
Lopaka Baptiste, liberal studies, ’06