5 Answers with Rising Star Haowei Qin, Data Scientist, USA TODAY Network

Since he joined USA TODAY Network in 2016, Haowei Qin has fueled growth by changing how the company views and leverages data from a strategic and operational perspective. While he has been with the company, Haowei developed processes that harness vast data sets by creating easy to understand models and leverage behavioral cohorts.
His day-to-day is spent digging into customer insights and constructing models, resulting in growing the loyalty initiative and reducing churn.
Examples include evaluating Omniture data to create simple yet effective engagement level indicators across platforms. The results of this work have allowed USA TODAY Network to better understand audience engagement levels with its brands, facilitating tailored consumer communications and opening up new streams for incremental revenue growth.
In Haowei’s Rising Star nomination, Andy Yost, CMO, USA TODAY Network wrote, “Haowei stands out due to his passion for learning. He embodies the term curiosity, always wanting to know more about both techniques and the business, to better support the organization’s objectives.”
We chatted with Haowei in this Alliance 5 Answers about how he got his start and how he approaches data.

What drew you to this field?

I’m a statistician with a math background (he earned a M.S. in Statistics from George Washington University in 2016). I quantify what matters, especially human propensities. Journalism is a field full of sentiments, and it attracted me with the infinite opportunities to add intelligence on every process when delivering information.

What is your proudest achievement at Gannett?

Adding value to subscriber acquisition & retention tactics by utilizing advanced analytics and machine learning to the click-stream data.

What advice do you have for young people trying to break into the field?

Understand the data and business before deploying fancy tricks.

How do you use data to reduce churn?

Collect every detail of possible drivers in churn cases, then jump out of the box to think about unusual patterns.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Seeing my design and models be used in real campaigns and actually helping the business to grow.
 
 

Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.

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