updated 07/09/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/09/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Getting the story into the magazine became a story in itself, with media controversy raging over Hilton's attempts to earn money on the first post-jail interviews. In the end, Hilton agreed to an interview and photo shoot with PEOPLE with no strings attached—or money paid.
Finding Paris on the cover will please some while others may be dismayed, believing we are rewarding bad behavior and celebrating underachievement. But for better or worse, Paris is, this week, part of a national debate, and it's our job at PEOPLE to have a voice in that conversation. So see what Paris has to say, and decide for yourself.