I’ve been the editor of Pool & Spa News for eight years now, but I still remember quite clearly a comment that was made during my job interview.

I had been with the magazine for a year already, working mostly in the news section, when I met with our publisher and the then-Magazine Division president of Hanley Wood to discuss my suitability for the position of editor, which had just become available.

The president asked a number of questions, all of them soft pitches. Then he looked at me intently. “What should a great business-to-business publication be doing?” he asked.

This was a little harder, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I spoke for a while about serving the audience, identifying trends and working with key sources.

“Yes, yes,” he said. “But there’s something else even more important.” He paused for a moment, then leaned toward me. “A great trade magazine is a conversation between the publication and the industry it represents.”

I nodded quickly, only half understanding but wanting the job so badly, I would have nodded at a barking dog.

Since then, I’ve thought about that comment many times, and over the years it’s become an integral part of my own editorial philosophy. A magazine, whether print or online, has no real relevance unless it speaks with vision and authority, and listens with close attention and an open mind.

I’m proud to say that in this issue of Pool & Spa News, the conversation between us is especially vibrant.

For starters, we’ve introduced a “comments” section beneath each of the stories appearing on our Website, poolspanews.com. Personally, when I read an article in an online publication, I always check to see if anyone left comments because the differing viewpoints often are as interesting as the story itself. In our case, I was especially pleased to note that within a few hours of posting the comments option, not only were readers strongly expressing their ideas, but many of them also had posted the story on Twitter. This type of interaction can strengthen and unify us all, as more and more people become informed about the events shaping our industry.

The second piece of the conversation is on good, old-fashioned paper. In preparing for this issue, we asked readers to send us their most pressing questions on anything regarding the pool and spa industry, from employee benefits to black algae. We received hundreds of submissions, many of them highly detailed and articulate.

Our staff then gathered panels of experts in chemistry, equipment, covers, salt systems and general business, and asked them to answer every question. The result is the Pool & Spa News Solution Book, an in-depth reference guide that’s designed to be consumed in quick, convenient bites.

So keep your rants, raves, questions, compliments and complaints coming. They’re part of a great conversation.