A lot of the fight comes down to specifics. D’Agata won’t call himself a journalist, and says he doesn’t write “articles.” He’s an essayist, and defends writing that enhances a feeling through creative license. Fingal, on the other hand, understands that his job is maintain painstaking factual accuracy. Emily Penrose, the editor, falls in the middle. She has practical concerns like deadlines, but also compassion for those who might be unfairly represented by the story if facts are altered. She is the steward of a lofty publication and doesn’t want the magazine to be embarrassed. She, and Jim, both happen to think John is a writer of genius.