News Gathering Steven Savage June 12, 2011 Columns, Mission Professional If you want to be in comics, in any capacity, you need to be following the news. Just in the last few weeks we’ve seen Amazon get into manga publishing, manga move to the Kobo, the success of Thor, the end ofSmallville and the sort-of failure of the Wonder Woman TV series. Every one of these affects your career options in comics. In fact, I’d argue that staying on top of relevant news – and knowing what is relevant news – is vital to any career. It lets you learn from the fast, predict the future, find opportunity, and avoid mistakes. It’s no stretch to say my enthusiasm for news helped my career immensely. The problem is it’s overwhelming because there’s so much to keep track of. I understand the issue as I track “Progeek” trends in many industries, which is overwhelming on its own. But with some quick focus, you can stay on top. So here are a few tips. RSS Feed: Use an RSS feed to gather news from various relevant sites and check it daily. Apps, websites, Twitter, etc. are all nice but you can’t beat a feed – and combined feeds – for a quick snapshot or trends. Find Aggregator Sites: There are sites that have content – and then sites that tie content together – likeTechmeme.com. These sites, if relevant to your interests, are invaluable. They’re like RSS feeds and then some (some even have RSS feeds). Set up a Schedule: Visit your sites/RSS feeds at least once a day and check out the relevant news for your interests. Check And Act: When a story catches your attention find what your next actions should be. Is there a company that may be hiring? Then send a resume. Is there a new technology for publishing? Then download a whitepaper. Turn your news reading into actual actions. Share Your Findings: Take those links you find and share them with others via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Ask for feedback and opinions on the truly important issues. This helps you learn – and also keeps you networking. Review Your Sites: Now and then review your news sources and see if you should add – or subtract ones. Make newsgathering part of your routine – this is especially important in fields like comics which are rapidly changing and are affecting many industries.