John McDaniel

A feature article in Pool & Spa News has received the Jesse H. Neal Award, often called “the Pulitzer Prize of business media.”

“SVRS,” which was written by senior editor Rebecca Robledo and edited by Erika Taylor, was named a Neal Award winner for Best Technical Content.

The award was announced during a ceremony held March 10 in New York. Also honored for her work on “SVRS” was Pool & Spa News graphic artist Denise Baker.

“We’re still on cloud nine,” said Taylor, editor of the magazine. “To receive such a profound recognition from top journalists working in the field today is a truly humbling experience.”

Now in their 57th year, the Neal Awards are sponsored by American Business Media. This year’s competition drew approximately 660 entries in 19 categories.

Judges were from a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times,, and the Financial Times.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Dick Coleman, publisher of Pool & Spa News. “An editor can go a lifetime, do a wonderful job and never even get nominated. Competition is brutally fierce, so we’re very proud of this accomplishment.”

Representing months of research and investigation, “SVRS” appeared in the Nov. 26, 2010, issue of Pool & Spa News. The piece took an in-depth look at the technology behind safety vacuum release systems, its strengths and limitations, and the still-unresolved issues surrounding SVRS’s role in preventing suction entrapment.

The article also incorporated a number of visual elements such as diagrams, schematics and the specifications of several brand-specific devices.  

“This relatively new technology and its place in entrapment prevention is such an important issue right now, as awareness by the government and public continues to grow,” Robledo said. “We’re so grateful to our sources, who helped us examine the actual technology and step back from the controversy.”

This is the magazine’s second such distinction: The feature story “In the Minority” won a 2007 Neal Award in the Best Single Article category. Pool & Spa News, based in Los Angeles, is a publication of Hanley Wood Business Media.