Back when I was a
newspaper reporter, I always dreaded the phone calls I’d
receive when a controversial story appeared with my byline.
However, I quickly learned it
story that got people in a huff. After these callers finished
ranting about how I’d sensationalized or misrepresented the
issue, I’d ask this simple question: “Did you read the
More often than not,
the answer was, “No.” Rather, it was the photos or the
headline of the story that had gotten them so irate. They
hadn’t even gotten past the first paragraph.
What really burned
me up is that as a reporter, I had nothing to do with the headlines
or the photos. Those were decided by my editors. I have to say,
there were times I was just as irate as some of those callers about
Now I’m the
editor and I do the headline writing and the photo choosing. And I
wouldn’t be surprised if some of you out there who have seen
the stark cover of our October issue, or paged inside to our
Special Report are ready to call or write with a few choice words
of your own. To be sure, the images are provocative — some
might say sensational.
I’m aware of
that, as is my staff, which helped come up with the images. In
fact, we debated, as we often do, about the best way to illustrate
this important report that details the dangers of indoor air
quality. It’s an issue we think the industry needs to heed.
We also knew that as a trade journal, Aquatics International
does not go out to the general public.
With all of that in
mind, we rejected the standard sunny photos of patrons in an indoor
facility and used an image that conveys the same dire warnings as
the report itself.
As Tom Griffiths so
aptly puts it, air quality could well be the “next wave of
litigation against facility operators.” To understand why,
you need to read Rin-rin Yu’s in-depth article Air Sickness. Like all of our important
reports, it not only examines the problem, but also gives you
information to help solve it.
So if the cover got
your attention, and the image of patrons in gas masks makes you
want to know what’s going on here, then we did our job
— we got you to pay attention to a matter you shouldn’t
ignore. But we can’t make you read the story. That job is up
Just do me one
favor: Before you call or write, read the story first.
International welcomes feedback from readers. All correspondence
may be edited for clarity and space considerations. Please include
your complete name and contact information.Letters may be sent by mail to Aquatics
International, Attn: Editor, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600, Los
Angeles, CA 90048; by fax to 323.801.4986; or via e-mail to
Credit: Gary Thill