Bates, for one, didn’t see it that way, and wasn’t inclined to second-guess his magazine’s approach. “If we could have foretold the future, we probably would have had the story ready,” he said, but he had no regrets. Sparking discussion and follow-up reporting is “part of what we’re in business to do,” he said. “If the word’s out all over the place, that’s terrific.”

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.