Boise writer Lennon S. "Sean" Reid has written more than a dozen cover stories for Business Insider. This week's piece on how businesses deal with customers who openly carry weapons was among the most challenging.
Many business owners and managers try to avoid controversies because of their potential to alienate customers and affect sales. They see nothing but trouble when a news organization seeks their comments for a story like this. Some didn't return Reid's calls. Others did but declined to talk. Some offered prepared statements and declined to take questions. Some answered some questions but wouldn't answer others. Some talked to Reid but wouldn't let us take photos.
Businesses aren't required to talk to the press. That can make covering business tougher than, say, covering government, where elected leaders must be accountable to voters and where open-records and open-meetings laws ensure access.
We appreciate businesses that cooperate on tough stories. For example, a spokesman for WinCo Foods answered Reid's questions with a level of detail that makes clear the company has thought hard about the issue. Sharing experiences, insights and opinions can help other owners, managers, employees and customers understand an issue and respond to it.
Reid proposed this story. It's obviously timely, so I'm glad he did.
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