Pool & Spa News and its sister publication, Aquatics International, have been named recipients of the 2007 Jesse H. Neal Awards.

The awards, sponsored by American Business Media, have been called “the Pulitzer Prize of the business media,” and are the industry’s most prestigious and sought-after editorial honors.

“Out of thousands of eligible business publication titles, there were Neal Award winners in only 12 categories,” said Dick Coleman, publisher for both magazines. “Writing at this level is hard work. To be recognized for excellence by the highest caliber of professional journalists makes us very proud and honored.”

Coleman noted that the judging panel included representatives from publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Pool & Spa News won Best Single Article for “ In the Minority,” written by business editor Shabnam Mogharabi.

The story examined the high drowning rate among minorities in America.

Erika Taylor, editor of Pool & Spa News, said that winning the award is indicative of a larger trend for the pool industry.

“The win is symbolic of the fact that swimming pools and waterparks play an ever-increasing role in the American consciousness,” she said. “It’s wonderful that the judges recognized the insight and expertise in these articles, but winning a Neal is about more than just good writing. Our industry is gaining well-deserved credibility among mainstream journalists.”

The winning story for Aquatics International was “ Who’s Watching the Children?” by Joshua Keim. It chronicled a yearlong investigation into the problem of sexual predators at public pools and waterparks.

“I am proud that the article’s original research resonated with such a prestigious group of judges,” said Gary Thill, editor of Aquatics International. ”Winning a Jesse H. Neal Award is the pinnacle of any editor’s career.”

The Neal Awards were established in 1955 to recognize editorial excellence in business media publications. Past Neal winners and finalists have tackled controversial topics, including corruption, kickbacks and large-scale changes facing an industry.

Pool & Spa News and Aquatics International are publications of Hanley Wood Business Media.