City Pages staff writer Nick Pinto’s LAUREL-worthy exposé “Weird Science,” published in March across the entire VVM chain, revealed that the researchers behind the widely-cited data had calculated the number of trafficking victims by first counting online adult-services ads, and then simply guessing at the ages of the girls in the pictures used to advertise those services. And that was about it.

“It was absolutely farcical,” says VVM executive editor Michael Lacey. And any reporter “would not have had to be a statistician” to recognize that the methodology was laughably flawed—if, that is, they had bothered to ask.

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