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Journalism - Reporting on Missouri Business: Company Analysis

Resources for Missouri business beat reporters

Company Analysis

Search for information about the company:  its past, present, and projections for the future.  Find information about the company's collaborators, customers, competitors and the current business climate.  Use MU licensed article, news, company, industry, market databases first, then search the web for secondary research, trade publications, data, industry blogs, etc.  Deciding the status (publicly trated/private, etc.) is an important first step.

  • If a company is public it is required to file disclosure documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  These documents are publicly available at the SEC- EDGAR site or through several online business databases (Mergent, Factiva, etc).
  • If the company is public, but part of a conglomerate or holding company, the SEC documents will be filed by the holding company with less information available about subsidiaries or business segments.
  • If the company is private now, but had been public, the original disclosure documents filed as a public company should still be available.
  • If the company is private it is under no obligation to file disclosure documents with the SEC, so it's financial information may be difficult to find.
  • If the company is private and part of a holding company, it becomes more difficult to find information about it.  This is when any information gleened from news, press releases, interviews, etc. becomes important.
  • If the company franchises, you may be able to obtain a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), usually only available to qualified potential franchisees. 

Types of information about companies/industries that can be found:

  • The company’s website and media kit will tell you what they want you to know or think about them. Look for the "About" link on their website.  If the company is publicly traded, find corporate relations information.  Dig into SEC filings (10K, etc.), corporate governance, political contributions, etc.  Trace corporate board member connections with NNDB, a website that aggregates and tracks noteworthy people.

  • Business and Media wires aggregated in Factiva will provide new product announcements, new hires

  • Trade journal and mass media articles, including news (Business Source Premier, Communication & Mass Media Complete, Factiva) will provide information about what media and businesses outside the company think as well as point to successes and failures of media campaigns.
  • Company/Industry databases (Standard & Poor’s Net Advantage, Mergent Online, Business & Company Resource Center, IBIS World and Factiva) can provide information on the company’s financial health and outlook, how they compare with peers in their industry, barriers, challenges, and opportunities.

  • Advertising Databases (, Ad Age Data Center) can tell you which advertising agencies the company uses for each brand and how much they spend per media

  • Market Research Databases (Frost & Sullivan (student access), eMarketer, Mintel, MRI+ Mediamark Internet Reporter, Forrester, Gartner, etc.) can provide secondary market research about services, products, technologies, etc. that the company provides.

Trends, Challenges, Opportunities