The Power of Print and Celebrity Guest Editors

Print magazines are attracting some of the world’s biggest names to perform guest editing duties, and finding it’s big news when a celebrity signs up.

New Statesman cover designed by Shepard Fairey

For the first time in 15 years Hearst Magazines’ women’s glossy Red will this month be featuring a guest editor – none other than Hollywood A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow. Joined by her team at lifestyle website goop.com, the actress has collaborated with the Red editorial team to produce a special Christmas edition.

As well as a wealth of lifestyle features (including travel advice, healthy alternative Christmas recipes, and festive gift ideas), the December issue also features an exclusive and rare interview with the star, focusing on Paltrow’s disdain for the judgements cast on working mothers.

In a more light-hearted guest-editing role, Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has taken the reins of children’s classic comic The Beano. The latest issue features Hammond and the Beano gang trying to uncover the true identity of The Stig, Top Gear’s mysterious ‘tame racing driver’.

Richard Hammond has described himself as a long time fan of The Beano and guest editing the comic has fulfilled a childhood dream of his.

Could a Celebrity Guest Editor Cause A Revolution?

In October we learned that comedian and actor Russell Brand would guest edit an issue of political and cultural title the New Statesman. The issue featured contributions from other celebrities including Noel Gallagher and Naomi Klein, as well as an essay penned by Brand encouraging a revolution.

You may have seen the recent Newsnight interview (below) where the loquacious comic clashed with a somewhat incredulous Jeremy Paxman over his political beliefs, despite the fact that he has never voted in an election.

In this particular instance the chain of events seems to conclude that placing Brand in the role – something that could have harmed the reputation of the New Statesman - led to the interview with Jeremy Paxman, encouraged the debate about the current state of polit#ics issues, with many claiming that Brand’s revolution of ideas has begun.

It will be interesting to see how this event has increased sales of the New Statesman, especially during the period the story developed. With that in mind what celebrities would you like to see putting on the editor’s cap? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. And if you missed the BBC Newsnight interview it is below.