On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
Until she began working at The Dallas Morning News two years ago, Suchitra Jena knew little about the news industry. What she did understand, however, was data and how to improve conversions. Now, in her role as a data analyst, she is excited to put her skills to the test while discovering a passion for publishing.
“I am fortunate to be a part of this organisation and believe data has the answer to many questions faced today,” she said. “Our newsroom and marketing teams are pretty data-savvy, and I wish to make data a part of the culture in our organisation. I definitely want to grow in my role as a data analyst and collaborate and lead.”
Her career began in India, where she worked as a business intelligence analyst. She moved to the United States in 2016 and earned her master’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, then was hired by The Dallas Morning News in 2018. Not only is Jena eager to make her mark through data strategy, but she wants to be part of a generation of leaders who emphasise diversity and inclusiveness.
“Being an immigrant in this country comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities,” she said. “Nationally, Hispanic, Black, and Asian women make up less than 5% of newsroom personnel at traditional print and online news publications … and the percent for women in tech jobs must be even lower. We definitely need diverse backgrounds thinking at the table to be able to look at a situation from different lenses.”
Even at this early stage in her career she is providing that perspective and has become a “rising star” on The Dallas Morning News business intelligence team, according to Lloyd Tokerud, analytics director.
“She has been at the forefront of helping Dallas Morning News understand the relationships between their subscriber and advertising revenue, which has opened the doors to experimentation and new approaches. She always brings new ideas to the team,” he said.
One of her major contributions was to marry the subscription and advertising data to identify which content was most profitable for each segment. She also has been instrumental in streamlining newsletter tracking and identifying opportunities for growth.
“I am very passionate about learning how business decisions are evolving with the changing times,” she said, adding that she is equally passionate about creating opportunities for women and minorities in the workplace.
“Around the world, women are working together to dismantle barriers, challenge perceptions, and improve the lives of women and girls in their communities. I hope I can play my part in the inclusiveness of the news media industry.”