Internet source guide for business reporting
Analyzing and determining reliability of Web sites
The following list of online resources for business journalists is by no means comprehensive. But it does attempt to offer some of the most widely known and used websites by reporters in gathering information about business and economics topics and issues. All of these sites have been reviewed and are believed to be credible sources of information.
It can be reasonably assumed that Web sites operated by state and federal government agencies, and Internet domains run by public and private companies for the purpose of disseminating information about their operations, are reliable places to obtain information for a story. But millions of other sites aren't as trustworthy.
Searching the ownership of a website where you're unsure of the information and how recent it is, or if you're unsure of the website's agenda, can make or break a story, particularly if you plan to use the information in your report. Failing to do so could cause your reporting to lose credibility if the information is false.
A handful of websites allow a person to check the ownership of other websites. These handy tools can go a long way in determining whether the website is reliable.
One of these sites is http://www.whois.net/ which allows you to look at the ownership of a current domain name as well as who owned an Internet site that is now defunct. Other similar sites are http://www.allwhois.com and http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/name-it/index.jhtml. Insert a company's Web address into one of these and see what you find.
Beware of doing basic searches using a common search engine such as Google or Lycos. While these are great services, they'll also give you tons of information about people or topics that may not be germane to what you're looking for. For fun, type in your name in one of these search engines and see what you find. You might be shocked to discover the number of people across the country with the same name. Would you want to be known as one of these people in a story?