Infographics Research: How to Access Company Reports - dummies

Infographics Research: How to Access Company Reports

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

If you’re making an infographic that involves information on a specific company, sometimes your best source is going to be the company itself. Say, for instance, you’re making a chart about a public company’s sales or financial performance. Public companies must make that information available, and you can get it by simply reading the company’s latest financial report (available on virtually every public company’s website).

Or, if a drug company has just released an exciting new drug, and you’re assigned to put together an infographic showing how it works, your best source is obviously going to be the company that created it.

The best place to search for this information is a company’s online newsroom, alternatively called a “press room,” “media room,” or something in that vein. That’s where many companies house public info that might be useful to a journalist. There’s no single location where all companies put their newsroom on their website, but there are some general guidelines to finding it.

  • Go to the company’s home page. You may get lucky and find a link right at the top of the page, but if not, scroll to the bottom. Many websites have an assortment of links to less frequently accessed parts of the site all the way at the bottom of their home page.

  • Look for an About page. If you still don’t see a link to the newsroom, try to find a link to the company About page. Most company websites have one that functions as a catchall for general info about the company. Often you can find corporate information there as well as a link to the company’s newsroom.

  • Search for the company name with the term “corporate.” When searching for the newsroom of certain types of companies, particularly retailers or companies that sell a product, it helps to search the term corporate along with the company’s name. Otherwise, you’ll usually come up with the company’s e-commerce site or a promotional page all about its products.

    Gap Inc. is a good example. A web search for Gap brings you to the Gap e-commerce site. If you search GAP corporate, the first result is its corporate page with information relevant to investors and media.

What you’ll find in the newsroom is anything the company wants to share with the press, such as press releases. Some companies include a wealth of information in their newsroom, particularly if they have a product they really want to promote, so you might find everything you need for your infographic.

Other companies, especially those that are privately owned, keep the data they release to a minimum, which doesn’t mean the data isn’t available. You’ll probably have to call or send an e-mail to their press contact to get what you need.

If you can’t find the name and contact information of a press contact in a company’s newsroom, try looking at a few of its press releases, which frequently offer contact info for reporters looking for information.

With public companies, one resource you can usually access online is the company’s financial records. Knowing how to find these statements is crucial for business journalists. For the most part, locating them is the same as locating a company’s newsroom, but the page you’re looking for may be called something like Investor Relations.

It helps to know that large companies, such as the Ford Motor Company or General Electric, often have a dedicated corporate website (as opposed to one for consumers) where this information is readily available.