This is one of my favorite columns to write, and I try to create some version of it every year, but don’t always have the opportunity.
On March 16, while sitting in a banquet room in Midtown Manhattan, a cheerful presenter spoke the words I’d been hoping to hear for months.
“And the winner for Best Technical Content is Pool & Spa News.”
Winning a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award is very hard. Often called the Pulitzer Prize of the trade press, the Neal Award is easily the most sought-after honor in business-to-business publishing. This year, there were 725 entries, 120 finalists and 40 winners in a variety of categories.
Judging is rigorous, with the first round of screening completed by fellow journalists, the second round assigned to high-level editors and publishers, and finally, when only a few entries are left standing, the editors of newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post select the winners.
The story that went the distance for us was written by Rebecca Robledo and appeared in the magazine last October. The piece, titled “ Covering the Drain,” took an in-depth look at the design of suction outlet covers, the standard that governs them, and the testing methods that led to the CPSC’s historic recall.
While our article certainly stood on its own merits, I’m also sure that the striking layout by Denise Baker, along with Tim Bobko’s highly detailed diagrams, didn’t hurt us with the judges.
Congratulations to everyone involved in this endeavor, and a big thank you to the many industry members who gave generously of their time and expertise to make the article possible.
I’d like to give a heartfelt thank you as well to the many people who wrote me kind condolences after the column about my mother going into hospice. While I miss her every day, your calls and e-mails picked up my spirits and were much appreciated.