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Newmark J-School Research Center
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Backgrounding People & Companies

Search company website and do a Google search

Start with checking the company website and Google search

  • Try Google, search company name in quotes
  • Company Websites: check the ‘about’ or ‘history’ section, look for contact information and names of principals.
  • Domain search:, – may also have an address or name of contact in the WHOIS history (scroll down on the right). Example 
  • Search Social media under business name or principals’ names.
  • Search the Wayback Machine for an archive version of the website.

Do a clip search on the company and the company officials

  • example: hlp=(the geo group)
    • Searching the headline and lead paragraph for phrase the geo group
  • example: hlp=(the geo group* and prison*) and atleast10 geo*
    • Searching for the geo group in the headline and lead paragraph and (and is really important in commercial databases) the word geo appears at least 10 x in the article. The asterisk means it is searching for variations of a word, like prison’s, prisoner, prison.

Company Executive background and nonprofit affiliations

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.

Civil Lawsuits (state and federal)

You may be able to find undisclosed information on private companies in civil court documents.

Public Records Databases

Every state secretary of state has a company entity search database for (public or private) companies that are registered in that state.

J-school subscription databases

Search state licensing and disciplinary databases like NY State and FDA

Contracts - Municipal State and Federal