Recently, we ran a story about a large pool builder in the midst of starting a new type of business model.
The nature of the transition was fairly uncommon in the industry, and I felt that given the size and relative high profile of his business, it warranted coverage in our magazine.
Over the next few days I received a couple of notes from readers expressing concern about the story. They felt that this particular builder was widely known to be having a rough time in the current market, and that to provide him with positive press was irresponsible.
This is the second time we’ve run a story and received that complaint, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share my perspective on the topic.
There are a number of pool contractors (sadly, a high number) who don’t often show up in the pages of Pool & Spa News primarily because of their reputations. Whether it’s substandard construction or shady business practices, we make every effort to weed out the bad apples before planning our stories. However, there is a significant difference between an incompetent or unethical builder and someone who faces challenges due to a historically tough market.
But even more important than that is the primary mission of this magazine: reporting news. When we hear of something that’s of interest to readers, we publish it, and try to remain as unbiased as possible in our coverage.
We felt that this particular story was newsworthy regardless of the builder’s financial profile.
Finally, like others in the industry, I had heard through the rumor mill that this builder was having a tough time navigating the current market. But one of the largest frustrations faced by Pool & Spa News is getting people to go on the record.
It would be unethical for us to even imply that a given person might be struggling unless we had hard evidence to back it up, or found a credible source willing to go on the record. Only then can any statements we make be properly attributed.