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I wasn't expecting this question to come up when Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten spoke at last weekend's Mayborn literary nonfiction conference in Grapevine.

Weingarten is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper feature writing. His anthology, "The Fiddler in the Subway," is a must-read for all lovers of great reporting and writing. One of the stories in the book is a piece he wrote for the Post Sunday magazine called "None of the Above."

Weingarten spells out the dilemma he faced while reporting the story in his own online chat, which comes complete with a poll so you may vote how you would handle the situation.

Our Advocate ethics board might have fun talking about the situation at its next monthly meeting, although I'm not sure whether regular rules apply to Weingarten, whose talent overshadows mere mortal reporters. The Mayborn audience was captivated by what he had to say and gave him a standing ovation at the end of the talk.

Have you read any of Weingarten's work? If so, what do you think of reporters who work so hard to get close to their story that they cross ethical boundaries?

This topic seemed to become a theme of the conference. Earlier, former newspaper reporter Ted Conover spoke about working secretly as a Sing Sing prison guard for his book "Newjack." And former newspaper reporter Jennie Smith preceded Weingarten's talk with a soul-searching account of her years spent getting too close for comfort to criminals while researching her book "Lost World."

Weingarten also reminded us of the beauty in the world that we too often ignore. Here is the opening to his Mayborn speech: