Focus on data led to new role and recognition for ACM's Tidball

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Australian Community Media data chief Robert Tidball is among 30 young professionals identified by INMA for its '30 Under 30' initiative.

A project using AI and NL to power a data platform for the then Fairfax 600-strong sales teams attracted the global organisation's attention in 2018 (see GXpress report). It delivered a new "single source of truth" for research metrics, including print and digital reach, demographics, web analytics, audience buying preference and maps of distribution areas.

Importantly it brought recognition, earning Tidball internal awards. Now inclusion in the '30 Under 30' initiative brings further attention.

Tidball was first involved with the newsmedia industry when he took a holiday job with News UK while at Leeds university. In Australia, he joined the portfolio strategy team at News Corp, where he says he became "hooked" on business strategy and analytics.

Six months in Peru as a business analyst with Europa Partners led to a role with Deloitte's in Sydney when he returned to Australia, but prompted him to realise that he missed the news industry. Moving to Fairfax, he created the internal sales tool (pictured) using Google Cloud, from which immediate benefits estimated at $50,000 in new revenue flowed.

His current position and department - leading a team of six data engineers and data scientists - are the result of a pitch to management. "I champion data in my role at ACM," he told INMA. "Data will be increasingly important for all industries but particularly the news media industry, which has a complicated relationship with large platforms and is experimenting new business models."

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