INMA honours young news media professionals with ‘30 Under 30 Awards’

Three rising stars from India in the league

The International News Media Association (INMA) announced the list of 30 young professionals worldwide who were judged as rising stars in the news media industry for 2021. This is the second year INMA has run this global competition.

The ‘30 Under 30 Awards’ competition is part of INMA’s Young Professionals Initiative and received 133 applicants. Members of the association’s Young Professionals Committee reviewed applications and voted on six award recipients in five categories—Advertising, Audience, Content, Leadership and Product.

Criteria for the candidate’s selection included being ‘under 30 years of age, early career achievements, insights into innovation, ability to influence and likely management skills.’ Winners with each of the five categories from 20 countries are listed below.

Advertising

Shirine Bauer, Digital Business Developer, Aftonbladet, Sweden

Katie Fabry, Marketing Director, The Wall Street Journal, United States

Afrian Muflihul Imron, Programmatic Sales & Operations Manager, KG Media, Indonesia

Nastasia Pawlak, Manager Business Development, Axel Springer, Germany

Damini Pustake, Senior Officer, The Times of India, India

Mark Rossman, Major Accounts Manager, LNP Media Group, United States

Audience

Cédric Algoed, Data Performance Manager, DPG Media, Belgium

Brianne Kennedy, Associate Director, Member Engagement, The Wall Street Journal, United States

Nidhi Mahajan, Associate Editor, Audience Engagement, The Quint, India

Giuliana Pasquali, Social Media Analyst, Clarín, Argentina

Mitchell Powell, Head of Social/Newsroom, NZME, New Zealand

Katharina Puntigam, Digital Subscription Manager, Kleine Zeitung, Austria

Content

Julia Beil, Senior Editor and Co-Leader, Department For Career, Science and Life News, Insider, Germany

Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury, Lead, Content and Product Growth, The Business Standard, Bangladesh

Denis Domínguez, Editor, El Heraldo, Honduras

Lee Hee Ai, Team Lead (Young Audience), Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore

Claudia Mann, Editor in Chief, Futter Magazine/Kleine Zeitung, Austria

Lilys Njeru, Correspondent, Nation Media Group, Kenya

Leadership

Kayla Alexander, Head of Audience Development, Media24/network24.com, South Africa

Peder Engesæth, Director/Consumer and Lifestyle, Aller Media, Norway

Betina Hughes Sheen, Senior Producer, The Canberra Times (Australia Community Media), Australia

Katherine Landeck, Co-Director of Planning, Gannett New England, United States

Agnes Stenbom, Responsible AI Specialist, Schibsted, Sweden

Daniela Werbeniec, Senior Project Manager and Communications Lead, Agora, Poland

Product

Cloudy Carnegie, Senior Data Scientist, Financial Times, United Kingdom

Cassidy Grom, News App Developer, The Star-Ledger (Advance Local), United States

Hiroya Kato, Web Developer and Voice Actor, Nikkei, Japan

Hemant Sahni, Lead Analyst/Data & Analytics, HT Media, India

Sarah Weishäupl, Head of Product Management, Die Presse, Austria

Bettina Widmer, Head of Vertical Hub and New Audiences, Blick Group (Ringier), Switzerland

Beyond recognition, ‘30 Under 30’ awards recipients will receive access to INMA master classes, INMA membership benefits, and more. All 133 applicants have been provided access to an INMA Young Professionals Initiative Slack channel for ideas-sharing and networking.

“It’s the second year we are awarding and lifting up 30 global talents in the media industry under 30 years, and I am both impressed and personally inspired by this year’s group of aspiring stars,” said Mari-Marthe Aamold, chair of the committee overseeing the INMA Young Professionals Initiative as well as general manager and CFO of Bergens Tidende and Stavanger Aftenblad in Norway.

We are so proud of the 2021 class of INMA 30 Under 30 Awards, which reflects broad geographical, gender, and racial diversity,” said Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “You can see with the 30 award winners the diverse incubation grounds for future media leaders: data, product, audience development, planning, social media, and marketing. INMA looks forward to a fuller embrace of this year’s 30 Under 30 Awards class over the next year.”

Young Professionals Initiative

INMA’s Young Professionals Initiative was set up to look at how to engage under-30 rising stars to help them elevate the news media, guide the INMA community, and bring new life and energy to an industry undergoing transformation. The Young Professionals Initiative is spearheaded by the Young Professionals Committee with seven members from around the world.

INMA is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue in a multi-platform environment. The INMA community consists of nearly 19,000 members at 900+ news media companies in 76 countries, representing tens of thousands of news brands.

Who are they?

Advertising

Shirine Bauer, Digital Business Developer, Aftonbladet, Sweden

During her last semester at the Copenhagen Business School, Shirine became deeply involved in a project about the transformation in media from linear TV to online video. A few post-college jobs later, she saw an opportunity to shape the future of Aftonbladet. In 2020, she joined Aftonbladet as the digital business developer, becoming the commercial lead for online video and podcasts. She was chosen to be a member of the Schibsted Future Advisory Board and completed a Schibsted-funded digital course in disruptive strategy at the Harvard Business School.

Katie Fabry, Marketing Director, The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, United States

A passion for fashion in college led Katie to an internship and later full-time job as a marketing associate with College Fashionista, which was a bridge to working with college students later as marketing manager on the student memberships team at The Wall Street Journal. In that position, she worked to make WSJ more accessible to college students by launching the first brand campaign for student audiences (We Are All Business Majors).

Afrian Muflihul Imron, Programmatic Sales & Operations Manager, KG Media (Kompas Group), Indonesia

As the lead for programmatic partnerships for two years at Kompas, Afrian is proud of Afrian Muflihul Imron’s work on the company’s brand safety tool, which measures brand safety rating while also blocking ads to avoid a mismatch between the ads and the content. As a national news publisher, maintaining the neutrality of the news is important, as is balancing out the needs of advertising customers. This is Afrian’s jam.

Nastasia Pawlak, Manager/Business Development, Axel Springer Brand Studios, Germany

Nastasia has worked in the news media industry her entire adult life — from internships to freelancing to writing her thesis at Hubert Burda Media. After making her way through many departments at Axel Springer as a management trainee, she landed in the Axel Springer Brand Studios. The in-house creative agency is in charge of native advertising within the Axel Springer portfolio. There, she is a member of a task force working on a strategy and new products for the post-cookie era.

Damini Pustake, Senior Officer, The Times of India, India

After working in three cities with four varied portfolios for Bennett, Coleman, and Company Ltd. (the parent company of The Times Group), Damini currently works in the FMCG vertical for the Mumbai region — categories like personal care, home care, food, etc., in print and non-print platforms. This particular profile is a defining experience as I get the opportunity to interact with clients and offer befitting solutions in correlation with BCCL’s various offerings.

Mark Rossman, Major Accounts Manager, LNP Media Group, United States

Having worked at LNP Media Group for seven years, Mark feels a deep connection to the company. “Like I know LNP has shaped me, I know I have shaped LNP.” One example is the expansion of Pocket, which Mark spearheads in response to a competitor coming into the market, offering a substantially lower rate than the newspaper could offer. Enter the TMC product Pocket, which is now mailed to more than 100,000 homes in Lancaster County.

Audience

Cédric Algoed, Data Performance Manager, DPG Media, Belgium

After an internship at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a job as a product consultant at a Belgian software start-up, Cédric got the marketing bug, which shortly led him to follow his personal interest in media. He co-created a digital premium strategy for HLN.be, after which the reach of premium articles almost tripled within a year. Cédric also worked with the company’s video team to implement a tracking tool and a calculation to rank videos qualitatively, which he rolled out to the editorial team with best practice examples.

Brianne Kennedy, Associate Director/Member Engagement, Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, United States

As international studies major without an exact vision of her career, Brianne took an internship with the event marketing team at The Economist because she liked the company’s international lens. It was there she found a love for marketing and journalism. Her journey to Dow Jones involved a couple of lean teams where Brianne ‘wore as many hats as they could give me’. She currently leads a team charged with creating and delivering omnichannel engagement campaigns for subscribers of The Wall Street Journal.

Nidhi Mahajan, Associate Editor/Audience Engagement, The Quint/Quint Media Digital Ltd, India

Launched six years ago, The Quint needed someone who understood the ever-changing social media platforms, tech features and data sets, and could tap into a young, aware, and opinion-driven audience. Enter Nidhi, who joined the company in 2017 as a trainee. Nidhi leads a team of a handful of social media managers who drive content strategy across social media accounts, plan content distribution in tandem with audience response, and stay abreast of platform updates and product innovations.

Giuliana Pasquali, Social Media Analyst, Clarín, Argentina

Giuliana’s journalism career began when she was 16 years old when she started writing for the local sports section. She now films and produces videos, writes scripts, and covers everything from events to elections to political marches. As a bonus: She’s also a producer at ESPN. Despite being told that her career wouldn’t go anywhere because she is a woman, Guiliana has succeeded as a writer and social media analyst for important national media companies in Argentina.

Mitchell Powell, Head of Social/Newsroom, NZME/The New Zealand Herald, New Zealand

Mitchell started in the ski industry, but an eight-week contract at NZME changed his entire career path. That was four years ago. Mitchell has been busy during New Zealand’s various COVID-19 lockdowns. He built a business case for The Herald to invest in an AI-powered social media publishing provider. He redesigned the graphic elements of content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. He launched a new strategy to deliver ‘new-look news’ to feed the seemingly endless appetite of readers for news.

Katharina Puntigam, Digital Subscriptions Manager, Kleine Zeitung, Austria

From working as an online marketing manager for one of Europe’s biggest shoe retailers to transitioning to performance marketing manager for Kleine Zeitung’s regional online shop, Katharina learned a lot about strategy and sales performance. For the past three years, she has been charged with the digital subscriber growth at Kleine Zeitung. Starting this month, she will be leading the company’s entire digital subscriptions department.

Content

Julia Beil, Senior Editor/Co-Leader for Career, Science, Life News Department, Business Insider, Deutschland, Germany

By the age of 14, Julia had already embarked on her journalism career, freelancing for two local newspapers. After completing studies at the renowned Axel Springer Academy and serving as an editor at Welt, she joined the team of Business Insider. During her first week there, she pitched the idea for her own weekly column. Julia and her team of editors are now implementing a strategy to make the newsletter a major source of revenue for the company.

Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury, Lead/Content and Product Growth, The Business Standard, Bangladesh

If he had to sum up his career path in a single sentence, Rafeed would say he is someone who loves to make and tell stories through product and content in the media. That love shows in his journey, which has taken him through both digital and print opportunities and turned him into a tireless and inspirational promoter of the media among young audiences: “I have spoken in multiple conferences and sessions including the leading universities in Bangladesh, inspiring students to come work in the media.”

Denis Domínguez, Editor, El Heraldo, Honduras

About Denis: Despite his youth, Denis already has 10 years of experience in the newsroom. During that time, he’s quickly climbed from being a local news reporter to being editor of the Web site before specialising in investigative and data journalism. He was instrumental in creating El Heraldo’s first data journalism section and reactivated the newspaper’s investigative unit, which now is recognised as one of the most prestigious journalism units in Honduras.

Lee Hee Ai, Team Lead (Young Audience), Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore

Although she first fell in love with print journalism, Lee has embraced the opportunities brought by digital. Her video work both in front of and behind the camera led her to be part of the newly formed digital content team, where she uses Facebook Live to cover breaking news or to share short, informative videos. Lee’s following grew during the pandemic when her coverage of COVID-19 became some of the company’s most-followed content. Next, she will be in charge of starting and leading a team on the company’s new bilingual (English and Chinese language) product, designed to attract an audience under the age of 25.

Claudia Mann, Editor-in-Chief, Futter Magazine/Kleine Zeitung, Austria

If you met Claudia, she would introduce herself as a university teacher, TV show host, and editor-in-chief of Kleine Zeitung’s youth magazine, Futter. But that’s only a small part of what she does. Her exclusive investigative reporting has led to institutional-level changes in the government, and she is constantly looking for new experiences and challenges. But the biggest project she and her team are working on is an award-winning TV show called Was geht?.

Lilys Njeru, Correspondent, Nation Media Group, Kenya

Lilys was working as a sales executive when she volunteered to manage her company’s social media pages. Her way with words caught the attention of her supervisor, who asked her to write reports; that led her to volunteer as a writer for non-profits and NGOs. After winning a Nation Media Group writing competition, she was awarded an internship that led to becoming a regular correspondent for the company. Now, much of her writing centers on topical issues, development, women, youth, children, and the occasional news story, and she has helped spark public debate on hot-button issues.

Leadership

Kayla Alexander, Head of Audience Development, Netwerk 24/Media 24, South Africa

With a background in radio journalism, Kayla began her career at Netwerk24 as a multimedia journalist. But her relentless pursuit of new skills led her to become its social media specialist, where she implemented new, successful ways of posting content. Now, as head of audience development, she identifies future opportunities for the company and maps out the path to get there. Kayla is eager to be among those who explore these changing opportunities and leverage them for growth.

Peder Engesæth, Director/Consumer & Lifestyle, Aller Media, Norway

Although he launched his career with a software group, Peder has always had a special place in his heart for newspapers. He was seven when he started his own school newspaper, and he later led student newspapers before entering the tech and business space. He was finally able to combine those interests when he became head of business development for Aller Media’s publishing division, which led to becoming director of the Consumer & Lifestyle vertical.

Betina Hughes Sheen, Senior Producer, The Canberra Times/Australian Community Media, Australia

Since joining ACM in 2013, Betina has approached her career with curiosity, determination, and an open mind. Within two years, she was promoted to chief of staff and by 2017 she was training editors and reporters across the country. Looking at new ways to solve problems and innovative ways to approach journalism have helped her company grow and implement new practices while at the same time giving her the opportunity to polish her skill sets.

Katherine Landeck, Co-Director of Planning, Gannett New England, United States

Katherine Landeck’s passion for journalism first became apparent when she was seven and launched a crusade to start a school newspaper. Since then, Katherine has continued cultivating her relationship with journalism, always looking for ways to innovate. As a leader in that fight, she works to “rally the troops” and show them what is possible by introducing new initiatives and rethinking everything from subscriptions strategies to sports coverage.

Agnes Stenbom, Responsible AI Specialist, Schibsted, Sweden

Combining her love of journalism with her passion for technology, Agnes is dedicated to finding new ways to leverage the best of both worlds. She sees a clear path to using technology, particularly AI, to make a greater impact in journalism, and even co-founded Nordic AI Journalism, the country’s first industry network. In 2019, she developed and deployed a research initiative to discover ethical risks in Schibsted’s AI developments, and as a result, the company implemented resources to support greater risk analysis.

Daniela Werbeniec, Senior Project Manager/Communications Lead Agora/Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

In the five years since she joined the media industry, Daniela has made a rapid ascent to become senior project manager and communications lead — a role that was created specifically for her. Working with the top management at Gazeta Wyborcza, she works to create initiatives and raise awareness about the importance of supporting the freedom of the press in Poland. She also does outreach to individuals in media organisations throughout Europe to ensure an international impact.

Product

Cloudy Carnegie, Senior Data Scientist, Financial Times, United Kingdom

When the Financial Times created its integrated data science team, Cloudy played a key role. The multi-disciplinary team was formed to promote the creation of data science-backed products quickly, and Cloudy led the day-to-day implementation of the projects. She also helped determine the future roadmap and the strategy of the team. News organisations need to be willing to challenge assumptions in what works with engaging their audiences.

Cassidy Grom, News App Developer, NJ.com/The Star Ledger (Advance Local), United States

Although she began her career as an award-winning reporter, Cassidy also had a love for design that led her to join the data and investigations team. As part of that team, she’s led the development of every major project for the past year, including creating a coronavirus tracker and covering the elections. Each project only seems to inspire her to do more: “Recently, I’ve been working with Augmented Reality, data visualisation, and sonification for a project funded in part by the Knight Foundation.”

Hiroya Kato, Web Developer and Voice Actor, Nikkei, Japan

While working as a voice actor in college, Hiroya became an expert at explaining things. As a Web developer for Nikkei, he sees his role as very similar: “My main job is to find the best way to convey news to readers and build article content in the best way.” His ability to plan and create visualisations for stories has helped the company win prestigious design awards for its Web site, and he was the first to use the Virtual YouTuber technology that synchronises human motions with the character model in the news media.

Hemant Sahni, Lead Analyst/Data & Analytics, HT Media, India

Analytics has long appealed to Hemant, leading him to launch his career in telecom. But after nearly five years of building retention strategies for Verizon, he pivoted to the media industry and now is using his arsenal of analytics skills to help the Hindustan Times better understand its audience and optimise the user experience. Print media is going through a transformation that will take many years, he said, and he wants to be part of that transformation through the use of analytics and personalisation.

Sarah Weishäupl, Head of Product Management, Die Presse Verlags, Austria

Since childhood, Sarah has loved a good challenge, and she keeps finding new ones in the media industry. Having worked for Die Presse in many capacities since 2018, she had already proven her diversity and shown the depth and breadth of her knowledge. But last year, she not only convinced the company that it needed a new product management department but was chosen to co-lead it.

Bettina Widmer, Head of Vertibal Hub & New Audiences, Blick Group/Ringier AG, Switzerland

As the daughter of a teacher, Bettina has had an innate lifelong love for language. But when she discovered journalism, it opened doors she never knew existed. For more than five years, she has worked with Blick, one of Switzerland’s largest newspapers, in positions in editorial, podcasting, social media, and more. She is skilled at discovering new verticals and reaching new audiences, and two years ago, she founded the Soda by Blick social brand, which won third place in INMA’s Global Media Awards for Best Use of Social Media.

As international studies major without an exact vision of her career, Brianne took an internship with the event marketing team at The Economist because she liked the company’s international lens. It was there she found a love for marketing and journalism.

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