One of the most important things to do when starting a new job is to learn the language and issues of your customer’s industry. The media are a great way to get acquainted. Any budding executive knows to reads the What’s News column of the Wall St. Journal every morning. When I started a job in advertising sales last year, I looked at my prospect’s desk to see what they were reading. I saw Advertising Age, Marketing News, the local NAIOP and Chamber of Commerce newsletters, and even our publication, the Las Vegas Business Press, so I started reading those. Now that I am in telecom, I read CIO and Networking Computing.
One of the best ways to quickly scan the headlines of any publication is with an RSS feed reader (short video about RSS). I currently use Google Reader, but there are many other great RSS feed readers available.
BONUS: Create a Google Alert to stay current with the latest news about your company and your customers. Type in the company name, and Google will alert you anytime there is a new article about that company on the web. You can make alerts for people, too. Unfortunately, you cannot get Google Alerts via RSS feeds yet.