Philip Mattera <email@example.com> wrote: I am the director of a new center designed to provide help on corporate research to groups engaged in community organizing. The Center for Comprehensive Corporate Research (CCCR) was established by six community organizing regional networks with financial support from progressive foundations. The six networks are: the Midwest States Center, Northeast Action, Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, Southern Organizing Co-Operative, Western Organization of Resource Councils and Western States Center. Although CCCR, for now, is limited to working directly with groups affiliated with these six networks, I would be happy to share tips with others involved in community organizing. In that spirit, a guide that CCCR has prepared on the techniques of basic online corporate research can be found on the COMM-ORG website at http://comm-org.utoledo.edu/resources/cccr.htm. Philip Mattera Center for Comprehensive Corporate Research 4920 Belt Road NW Washington, DC 20016 (202) 237-6466 fax (202) 237-6284 firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------------------------------------------ We have forwarded this as we believe it will be of help to many of you. Sonny ------------------------------------------------------------ H. C. Covington - I CAN America Management & Resource Consultants P.O. Drawer 3444 - Lafayette, LA 70502 email@example.com (318) 781-0216 ************************************************ HOW TO DO BASIC CORPORATE RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET When researching a company, one of the first things to find out is whether it is publicly traded. Public companies (those whose shares are bought and sold by the public on stock exchanges) must divulge a lot more information about their activities than private companies (those owned by a small number of people). See below for details on these reports. One good place to start in checking whether a company is public or private is Hoover's Online <www.hoovers.com>. This website offers short profiles of some 14,000 companies. In addition to indicating whether a firm is publicly and privately held, Hoovers provides a brief sketch of the company's operations, the names of its top officers and contact information such as address, phone number and website. COMPANY WEBSITES Whether the firm is public or private, the next place to check is its website. If you weren't able to find the web address on Hoover's, try a service called Companies Online <www.companiesonline.com>, which is provided by Dun & Bradstreet and claims to have links to more than 100,000 public and private companies. If your company still doesn't turn up, try using one of the many search engines on the web. There is one called Google's <www.google.com> that specializes in finding official websites of companies and other institutions. If all else fails, you can always simply try inserting the company name in the typical web address format; e.g., to find Exxon, type <www.exxon.com>. Once you've reached the website, you may find a treasure trove of information or nothing more than a page with the company's logo and address. Generally speaking, the larger the company, the more information it puts on its site. Be sure to look for an archive of press releases, which often include information that did not make it into the press. The bigger public companies usually put their entire annual report online (usually in PDF format, which means that you first need to download the free Adobe Acrobat reader). There may also be links to its other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SEC DOCUMENTS For the past five years the SEC has required public companies to provide their main filings in electronic form, and those documents are made available for free to the public through a system known as EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval). The main SEC documents to look at are the 10-K (a more detailed version of the annual report), the 10-Q (quarterly reports), 8-K (reports on special events such as a merger) and the S-1 or S-2 (a detailed report issued when a company goes public for the first time or is issuing new stock). Also be sure to look at the proxy statement (designated on EDGAR as DEF14A), which provides valuable information such as the names of individuals or institutions that own 5 percent or more of the company, the names and other affiliations of the members of the board of directors and the compensation and stockholdings of the directors and top officers of the company. EDGAR documents can be obtained for free from the website of the SEC itself <www.sec.gov/edaux/searches.htm>. There are also several advertiser-supported websites that provide EDGAR documents in more convenient formats. See, for example, FreeEDGAR <www.freedgar.com>. EDGAR Online <www.edgar-online.com> allows for searches across EDGAR documents for references to an individual. The 10K Wizard <www.tenkwizard.com> allows for similar searches using any keywords. Note: some companies whose shares do not trade publicly may still be required to file reports such as a 10-K with the SEC, because their bonds trade publicly. So it is always a good idea to search the websites above for filings by any company you are researching. STATE CORPORATION FILINGS Every U.S. corporation, whether public or private, must be registered in one of the 50 states. Being incorporated requires the firm to provide state officials with basic information about the corporation. These requirements vary from state to state, but at a minimum you should find the precise name of the company and its address. In some states the corporations have to report the names of their officers and directors. These filings can usually be obtained from the state's Secretary of State office. They are also available electronically via expensive database services such as Lexis-Nexis. More than a dozen states, however, have begun to make this information available for free on the Internet. For a list of links to the websites of such states, see the BRB Publications website <www.brbpub.com/pubrecsites.htm>. PRESS COVERAGE You will then want to see what has been written about the company, especially in the business press and in specialized trade journals. Many of these articles are available online, but in most cases you need to pay for the full text, either by purchasing an article on a publication's website or by subscribing to commercial services such as Lexis-Nexis or Dow Jones Interactive. Some publications, however, do allow free access to all or part of their archives. To find a publication's website, you can use services such as Editor & Publisher Interactive's Online Media Directory <emedia1.mediainfo.com/emedia/>. You can also use this to look for a website of the main newspaper in the company's headquarters city, which is likely to devote a large amount of coverage to the company. You can get for free an indication of the full range of articles that have been written about the company and are available in commercial databases. There are several websites that allow for free searching and display of bibliographic data, sometimes including abstracts of the articles. Here are two of the better services of this kind: - Northern Light <www.northernlight.com> is a search engine that covers both the "free" web and proprietary content (called the Special Collection) it licenses from a wide variety of publications. You can search both types of content at no cost. For Special Collection material, you can view an abstract at no cost but must pay to display the entire article. - Transium <www.transium.com> is a well-organized site that indexes articles on companies according to a defined set of categories (corporate strategy, marketing, labor relations, etc.) and provides abstracts as well as citations. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS There are various sites on the Internet that can provide information on election campaign contributions by corporate Political Action Committees or by corporate executives. For Federal Election Commission data, see the FEC site itself <www.fec.gov> or, for more detailed information, the sites of the Center for Responsive Politics <www.crp.org> or FEC Info <www.tray.com/fecinfo>. An increasing amount of state contribution data is coming online as well. See the site of the National Institute on Money in State Politics <www.followthemoney.org>. ENVIRONMENTAL DATA The Environmental Protection Agency website has a feature <www.epa.gov/enviro/html/multisystem_query_java.html> that allows you to search for compliance information on a company or facility from a variety of databases at once. The Environmental Defense Fund has created a useful website <www.scorecard.org> that allows you to view environmental data on specific geographic areas (such as the area around a facility owned by the company you are targeting). JOB SAFETY AND HEALTH DATA The website of the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration <www.osha.gov> provides access to a database of inspection records, including complaints issued. KEEPING AN EYE ON BUSINESS Websites that regularly cover corporations in a critical way include Corporate Watch <www.corpwatch.org> and Multinational Monitor <www.essential.org/monitor/monitor.html>. END FORWARD ------------------------------------------------------- **In accordance with U. S. Copyright Law, Title 17 - Section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** H. C. Covington firstname.lastname@example.org "To be truly radical, one must make hope possible, rather than despair convincing."