Today, I had my first (ever) conflict between being a reporter and an individual. I wrote an article on a new Walmart on Campus due to open in Columbia in the first quarter of 2014.
A reader commented on the story saying the opening would be beneficial only to Walmart.
I wanted to say that the opening of Walmart so close to campus would make life for students and residents in the area a lot more convenient and easy. Doing so, however, would be expressing an opinion as an individual and not a reporter, which made me a little sad.
I want to make it clear: I am not advocating Walmart. I am advocating the presence of a store that will sell groceries and is close to campus thus eliminating the need for students (and residents downtown) to own a vehicle.
Ergo, as an individual, I fully support the opening of Walmart on Campus – not because it is Walmart but because it is a grocery store.
As a reporter, I tried finding out why the developers of the Lofts decided on Walmart instead of, say, Hy-Vee or Target or even a local grocery store. The developers would not speak on behalf of Walmart and my source at Walmart did not address that question (we had an email conversation).