Look through the company's website, read the annual report and press releases.
Search Tips (you can copy and paste these targeted searches into Factiva search and change the words)
Look for cases and read civil court documents (the complaint, answer, exhibits, orders, judgments).
Use the Backgrounding People Guide to background the company executives.
Use the Guide Nonprofit Organizations - research sources for reporters to identify nonprofits associated with the company or executives.
Public companies are required to file financial documents with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
SEC 10-K Reports - what to look for:
More to Look for From Dirt Digger’s Digest
Looking for bad news in SEC filings? Here are some tips. (thanks to Newman Library at Baruch College for these instructions)
* Note if the company has filed an amended statement, a 10-K/A or a 10-Q/A.
* Read the footnotes carefully.
* Read Item 3 - Legal Proceedings and Item 13 - Related Party Transactions in the 10-K.
* Check if the auditor has filed a "qualified opinion" or a "going concern" opinion.
* Investigate the background of items reported in 8-K reports.
* Do a text search of all the company's filings using words like legal, litigate, regulate, default, etc.
Identify Threats with the 10-K (thanks to Newman Library at Baruch College for these instructions)
10-Q: A quarterly report that discusses the company’s business and financial performance. Amended filings are designated as 10-Q/A.
20-F: Foreign companies file these annual reports. The report discusses the company’s business and annual financial performance. Amended filings are designated as 20-F/A.
8-K: A “current report” that announces major events that shareholders should know about.
6-K: Similar to the 8-K, but filed by foreign companies, this is a “current report” that announces major events that shareholders should know about.
DEF 14A: The definitive proxy statement, this contains material information about matters subject to a shareholder vote.
S-1: A general form of registration. This is commonly filed by companies looking to complete an initial public offering. The form can be amended several times; those changes are filed under S-1/A.
SC 13G: A notice of a change in beneficial ownership, meaning the acquisition of 5% or more of outstanding stock by passive investors and certain institutions.
13F-HR: A quarterly report filed by institutional money managers that discloses their large holdings.
Search Google for audit reports that evaluate the company, written by government agencies or watchdogs, here are examples searching the gov domain and the org domain. You can copy the search and change the company name:
More Oversight and Regulation Databases
You can search for campaign contributions by employer name.