One other interesting footnote is, for the Sunday Times I had written this Week in Review piece about conspiracy theories, so I woke up Monday morning and I was getting all these reader emails, and that’s how I knew that the obituary had run. But then I started getting all these emails saying things like, “He’s not really dead, we don’t have photographs, the DNA evidence isn’t real,” and I thought, “God, I just finished writing about this!” It was kind of unclear to me, were these people conspiracy theorists who had read the conspiracy theory story? Or were they conspiracy theorists who had read the bin Laden obituary?

When you were able to sort through all of your emails, what kinds of responses to the obituary did you mostly get, from the industry and from your readers?

You know, I have not actually had anyone say anything about the issue we were just discussing, the question of whether we should “honor” someone like this. I have not had a single reader write to me and say, “Why did you waste all this time on him?” My friends who are readers have sort of impressed upon me the historic element of this, more than maybe I realized myself. And I’ve gotten a lot of reader feedback saying that it was great to have this historical background and just sort of understand again—because, again, we’ve stopped talking about bin Laden—so I think it was really important for people to be reminded of just why he came to loom so large over our country.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner