By Nichole Sarkis
Harrington School Staff Writer
When URI alumnus, Adam Wiener, graduated with a journalism degree in 1987, he had his sights set on working for a US print publication in Moscow because of his fascination with Cold War politics. He never imagined he would make a career for himself in a broadcast environment. Wiener now works for CBS Corporation where he serves as the Senior Vice President for Content, Community, and Operations for CBS Local.
The uniqueness of Adam Wiener’s current position and its multi-faceted challenges are sources of enjoyment for him. He is responsible for all digital content and operations (websites, mobile, social) for all owned and operated CBS Television and CBS Radio local stations across the entire country. Adam’s purview includes news, sports, and music initiatives reaching a large and diverse audience. Whether it’s providing digital support for broadcast programming, working with sales and marketing, or coordinating exclusive online content, Adam’s job is always exciting and ever changing.
Through hard work and determination, Adam climbed the ladder in his career and made a home for himself at CBS. Before he graduated from URI, however, Adam was preparing to work for a print publication in Russia and he started to polish journalism skills, take courses in Russian language, history and literature, and learn about current affairs in the Soviet Union. One of his big breaks was securing a part-time job in the office of then URI President Edward “Ted” Eddy, where he was privy to interesting State-level, political discussions. Next, he landed an internship at the Village Voice with political columnist James Ridgeway, a position that required him to research a myriad of news topics including US/Soviet relations.
Soon after graduating, Adam spent two months as an ABC News Special Events intern on a broadcast about Pope John Paul II’s 1987 visit to the United States. “I never envisioned working in a broadcast environment,” said Adam. “But I needed a job and the experience.”
In addition to learning how much effort it takes to create a network product, he gained a newfound appreciation for the medium and decided to pursue a broadcasting career. When Adam’s internship ended, he was hired as full-time Desk Assistant at CBS Radio News. “I learned in that first job that effective writing is the key to success, no matter the medium or whether for public or private communications,” Adam said.
Adam’s advice to Harrington School students interested in journalism is to know how to write effectively. “Whether it’s radio, television, print, or digital, your ability to write effectively is the foundation of your career. Start a blog. It’s free! Develop a voice. Publish something, no matter how brief, every single day. It is a sure-fire way to improve your abilities. Launch a podcast! Spoiler alert: Potential employers love self-starters.”
Journalism Department Chair, John Pantalone, comments on the success Adam’s accomplished in his career. “Mr. Wiener is one of many examples of URI Journalism alumni who have distinguished themselves in a variety of communication fields. It is clear that hard work and passion for journalism and media have guided him to his lofty position at CBS. He has been willing to share his experience and expertise with students, and his advice regarding the critical importance of writing skill in all the varied mass media fields resonates with what we teach our students. He is a shining example for our current undergraduate majors.”
Linda Levin, a former journalism professor of Adam’s, fondly remembers her hard working student and his outstanding work ethic. “Adam is an excellent example of students who use their contacts to find good jobs. Years ago, he was with CBS News in New Hampshire during the presidential primary. I had taken a class of students to cover this big story, and we met up with Adam who talked with them about his job. It was exciting for the students to hear from a journalism alum who had succeeded in the field. Adam remains one of my favorite and most successful students.”
“Devoting as much time as possible to your career while you’re young allows you to absorb the most from your work environment because other life milestones have not happened yet. While your talent and dedication are key drivers, do not underestimate the importance of leveraging connections. Be unafraid to ask for help or an opinion, especially from those with experience doing now what you want to do later.” Adam Wiener is unafraid to challenge himself and take risks in his career, and he encourages all Harrington School students to do the same.