“Who the hell is Mada Reneiw?” This was the question that projected on the white screen while the auditorium-sized room in White Hall filled with students to listen to a guest speaker.

Courtesy of: Anna Crean Wiener
Courtesy of: Anna Crean Wiener

Mada Reneiw is the pen name that Adam Wiener, University of Rhode Island Journalism alum from the class of 1987, used in a creative writing class while attending URI. If you didn’t notice, Mada Reneiw is just Adam Wiener backwards.

Wiener is now the senior vice president of content, community and operations at CBS Local. CBS Local consists of some of the country’s biggest television and radio stations. According to the figures that Wiener presented, CBS Local brings in 77.5 million monthly online visitors, 44.5 million monthly mobile visitors and 27 million mobile streams.

The concept of journalism was something that Wiener had been interested in since the fourth grade. At least that is as far back as he had documented. He presented a self-made newspaper from when he was in the fourth grade where he interviewed a crossing guard.

Also from a young age, one of the keys to Wiener’s success was his adaptability into the age of computers. The Apple II is considered to be the first ever mass produced personal computer, created in the late 70s and Wiener had one of his own. In 1983 while he was at URI, he was the only person he knew with a computer. He had developed a skill for keyboarding and students would pay him to type papers out for them.

As a freshman at URI, Wiener began to write news stories for the Good 5 Cent Cigar. His stories did not reflect well upon the current administration of the university so then President Edward D. Eddy, took notice of Wieners work and called him in for a meeting. Wiener quoted Eddy having said, “Excellent reporting at the paper. I could use a guy like you. I could use you as a student advisor in the President’s office.”

Wiener responded, “I won’t write for the paper. But you’re going to be my number one reference.”

Wiener then went onto earn an internship with The Village Voice, in New York. At first he was told he would never get the internship but his persistence eventually put him in position to be the top candidate.  Wiener said, “If you want something, you have to make it happen.”

“We live in the most amazing time in journalism,” Wiener said. “The ability for anybody to put something out there, who knows, my fourth grade newspaper could have gone viral.”

From there the next big opportunity for Wiener came when Peter Jennings was going to be the commencement speaker at graduation, and he was planning to stay at Wiener’s house while in Rhode Island. Not only that, but Weiner let Jennings stay in his room in exchange for an opportunity for a job down the road at ABC. Jennings held his side of the bargain.

Wiener ended up working for CBS, CBS News, Office.com, Healthology, iVillage, NBC Universal and more. Then he was presented with an offer to rejoin CBS as a part of their new media division, CBS Local. He has been continuing his journalism work there ever since.