News Navigator: John McIlvaine, head of marketing for the Nexis side of Lexis-Nexis.
Each day, Nexis puts online some 100,000 new articles culled from 8,700 sources. Next time you open a newspaper, follow McIlvaine's three-bullet strategy for crunching the news.
- Do your reading at the beginning or the end of the day. "I typically get to work around 7 AM, and I use that first hour to read the "New York Times," the "Wall Street Journal," "USA Today," and a couple of industry periodicals. A lot of people — myself included — are embarrassed to be caught reading a newspaper in the middle of the day. Which is really bizarre, because if businesspeople don't stay up to date, we're lost. So I physically block out time in the morning to do my reading."
- Jumping from headline to headline is a timesink. When you open a paper, know where you're going. "I migrate immediately to the business section. The business section of the New York Times has a good synopsis of the news of the day, which I can scan through very quickly. Some days there won't be anything of interest so I move on to the front page, pick up the national and world news, and throw the paper away."
- To leverage your reading, zero-in on a few specific topics. "I tend to be very focused on trends in my industry — from news on the information industry to discussions on the Internet to coverage of personal technology. I also scan for articles on our competition. "Right now we're announcing a partnership with Microsoft. By paying attention to the way that different reporters cover the story, I get a good feel for how the press and the public perceives Lexis-Nexis. Reading like this, I'm doing more than digesting information — I'm learning."
Coordinates: John McIlvaine, firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appeared in the August/September 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.