Online news searching: Why?

Stack of newspapers next to laptop

Whether you’re conducting due diligence, finding hidden assets, or just digging deep into a company’s or person’s background, news searching is an important step in your intelligence-gathering process. I talk about it here a lot but realized that I’ve never really focused on the why. Why is news searching so important?

Not a day goes by without searching online news, and I always include this step in our background investigations–for several reasons:

Find what’s not in public records – While public records can reveal a lot about a person or company, there’s a lot missing. In a recent example, the property tax record described several acres of rural land with mineral rights. That’s it. In the news, we learned that our subject, who’s avoided paying on a judgment by claiming poverty, made significant sums of money after an oil strike.

News adds “color” – One due diligence client refers to the news as the “color” in our reports. It’s where we’ve learned about all the bar fights involving one of their executives, and it’s where we find out about the good that someone does during their spare time. News completes the profile.

Because it’s there – As a professional researcher or investigator, you want to do the best work for your clients. Adding the news to the mix creates a more well-rounded report, and clients appreciate when you can deliver the hard-to-find answers to their questions.

But don’t take just my word for it. Everyone’s work is different, so I recently reached out to my LinkedIn connections, and they responded with their usual generosity and insights. Here are the reasons and the examples they shared, which illustrate when and–most importantly–why they search online news:

Profile building:
Find leads
Verify or fill gaps in self-reported professional experience
Identify business partners, regulators

Staying up-to-date:
New technology, laws, security gaps, trends, impending problems, solutions
Identify common schemes and develop strategies for audits/investigations
Monitoring what’s public about you/your clients and your/their companies.

Monitoring adverse news for AML programs
Enhanced Due Diligence in KYC (verify client identity & additional risks)
For watch lists, news can help identify individuals

When you need to learn as much as you can about companies and individuals, don’t skip online news searching. You never know what you could be missing.


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