So I have this story about dinosaurs coming out in a magazine in May. And I'd heard from Dr. Roo that she was fact-checking a story about dinosaurs at the magazine where she works.
Well, I subscribe to that magazine, and the April issue came today, and guess what: it's the same story. Same story, same scientist, same themes. The magazine that's running mine is still going to do it, but it will seem considerably less original to anyone who happens to read both. Fortunately, very few people read both - that's why they aren't killing mine.
This happened to me once before, when I was still an intern at [my employer]. I'd been working for ages on a story about back pain that was scheduled for the cover. I was in the San Francisco airport, returning from a very nice visit with Dr. Roo, and there in the airport newsstand was a back pain story on the cover of one of our competitors. My story was immediately killed. My editor said I could go back to it in a few months, but I was just too depressed to think about working on it any more.
So at least that isn't happening now. And anyway, mine is going to be better. (Or so I will continue to tell myself so I don't lose all hope.)