OLD Media Moves

Wired magazine kept Google Web browser a secret

September 3, 2008

Owen Thomas of Valleywag writes Wednesday about how Wired magazine executive editor Bob Cohn was able to get a story in its October issue about the new Google Web browser called Chrome without it leaking out.

Wired magazineThomas writes, “Cohn set aside space for the feature under a codename, ‘Go Lego’ — an obvious anagram of ‘Google,’ but also a plausible topic for Wired to cover. Files were saved in space used for the September issue, because ‘no one ever looks back at the old issue,’ says Cohn. Then, Cohn told staffers the fake story was cancelled. ‘We told people that we’re going to pull that story for ad sales reasons, but we’re going to keep it on the map for bureaucratic reasons,’ says Cohn. Those in on the secret prepared a fake table of contents and even a cover.

“‘Only 8 or 10 people knew — not because we don’t trust people, but because I and Steven had pledged it would be very closely held,’ says Cohn. (Wired has a staff of 49, according to the masthead.) ‘Normally the staff sees the entire magazine. I sent out an email this morning letting people know. A lot of people came into my office surprised there was a story they didn’t even know about, words on the cover they hadn’t read.’

“Did it ruffle feathers? Perhaps a little, says Cohn: ‘This morning an editor told me about a story he was working on, and then he said, ‘And there’s a secret story I can’t tell you about.””

Read more here.

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