Nebraska editor is living a dream, juggling two sports jobs
By Carter Donahue
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Jacob Padilla is living his dream.
He’s loved sports ever since he was in his school.
Now as editor-in-chief of NebHSSports.com and a staff writer for Hail Varsity, Padilla’s career centers on sports.
“When I was in high school, I was a 4.0 student. I got mostly all As. But the problem was, I wasn’t really interested in anything. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved sports,” Padilla said in a telephone interview. “I decided I wanted to go into sports writing because I knew I loved sports so much and I have just kept doing it since. I still love it.”
Padilla offered simple advice for students thinking about their future: Do what you love for the rest of your life and your career won’t seem like work.
As for journalism, he said making connections is important and can open up opportunities. That is how he got his jobs.
At Creighton University,, Padilla started writing for his school newspaper, The Creightonian. He covered the Bluejays’ basketball team, which led to covering the Bluejays during the NCAA Men’s March Madness tournament.
While Padilla was covering Creighton’s first game, the founder of Nebraska’s Hail Varsity, Aaron Babcock, approached Padilla. At the time, Creighton star Doug McDermott was making national news by emerging as one of the best players in the country. Hail Varsity needed a feature story on the future National Player of the Year.
Since Padilla was covering the Jays, Babcock asked if he wanted to write the McDermott story. One feature story later, Padilla was on Hail Varsity’s radar as a college student. He still writes for Hail Varsity.
As he approached graduation, Padilla’s connections came in handy again. He had a friend who shared a similar interest in sports writing but had already lined up a job. Padilla’s friend referred him to his boss, the owner of NebHSSports.com. A conversation with the boss, Mike Sautter, led Padilla to a job at the website.
“It was really my first experience coming out of college, and it was such a different experience,” Padilla said. “As I went along working for NebHSSports.com I got a bigger role and that was good for my future.”
Padilla also did an internship on the sports copy desk at the Omaha World-Herald.
“I really liked working for the Omaha World-Herald,” Padilla said. “They usually just gave me the smaller sports to cover, like softball, but I enjoyed it.”
Even if it’s not the exact job you want, those internship opportunities can pay off with experience and connections later.
“I am very happy with where I’m at right now, but if I was to go somewhere else for the future, it would probably be for the Omaha World-Herald,” he said.
Juggling two jobs can be tough at times.
“Sometimes it’s difficult,” he said, “but I really genuinely love sports and I just love being out there.”