Friday, January 9, 2009

Insightful Interview

As most would guess, being a business reporter allows one to meet several types of people. Shy, brash, hilarious ... Sources run the gamut, for sure.

However, when sales, earnings and other measures of success are brought up, those differences can diminish quickly. Even BEFORE the recession, that sort of information simply wasn’t up for discussion with a lot of entrepreneurs.

The majority of refusers head privately held companies, so their declinations are both legal and understandable. Still, that guarded nature shrouds aspects of their business from the residents who want to know more about the offices, warehouses and shops that fill their communities. Some public companies, on the other hand, will give you figures, but then offer little perspective or thoughts regarding them. Those instances are troublesome because they provide the reader with less-than-colorful quotes.

For that reason, my recent sitdown with Mullinax East Ford General Manager Dennis Pritt was most refreshing. Throughout the Q&A, Pritt was revealing and not overly conscious about image protection. He seemed to realize that he could actually command respect and uphold his brand’s name, while also providing insight and depth in his comments.

He didn’t pretend that Ford was the only viable option for consumers, and he didn’t act like the economic downturn was a foreign concept. It all seems simple enough, but many reporters will tell you this isn't always the case.

To be clear, Pritt is far from the first accommodating source, and he won't be the last. He’s just one that should be recognized for his candor during a time when few want to reveal how bad times truly are.

-- Brandon C. Baker

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