Wired managed to keep Google’s (GOOG) secret for weeks before its new Chrome browser was announced, and left those in the trade press wondering how a slow-moving monthly magazine could (almost) break some tech news.
Conde Nast corporate cousin Vanity Fair wasn’t so lucky with its would-be scoop on Lance Armstrong returning to professional cycling. The magazine had hoped to protect the scoop for its November issue, which hits the streets in New York and L.A. Oct. 1. But after news leaked out in cycling magazine VeloNews on Monday, Vanity Fair quickly posted the interview online and now it’s off the lineup for the print edition.
The interview was conducted at Armstrong’s Austin home between August 25-29, but he had applied for reinstatement with anti-doping authorities earlier in the month, meaning it was probably unrealistic to think the magazine could keep that kind of news off the Web.
Vanity Fair spokesperson Beth Kseniak said the story might have been bumped by another story anyway; the November issue doesn’t close until Sept. 19. But either way, it didn’t make sense to hold the piece, and makes even less sense to publish it in a magazine that won’t come out for another three weeks. Vanity Fair typically posts stories on the Web as issues hit newsstands.
The upside is that the story helped Vanity Fair double its normal Web traffic on Wednesday. (The magazine declined to give numbers, but Quantcast says the site gets about 400,000 unique visitors a month). But the Armstrong story paled in comparison to the mag’s story about Cindy McCain’s $300,000 convention wardrobe last week, which brought 10 times the normal visits, and semi-nude photos of Miley Cyrus, which set a record last spring with 40 times VF.com’s normal traffic.
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