Kate Hudson’s new film “Wish I Was Here” was not mentioned in InStyle’s July issue — on which she graced the cover. And for that, they ran a correction.
AdAge reports the magazine followed up with:
“CORRECTION We regret that in a feature on Kate Hudson in our July issue (p. 169) we did not mention her new dramedy with director Zach Braff, Wish I Was Here (in theaters July 18),” wrote InStyle on the Letters page of the next issue. InStyle Editor Ariel Foxman said “Wish I Was Here” was inadvertently edited out of an earlier version of the story.
According to AdAge, the “mistake” was noticed by the cover story’s editor after the issue went to print. InStyle’s Foxman told them, “It had been an omission and it was part of the reason Kate Hudson appeared in the issue.” Hudson’s camp did not respond for comment, though AdAge notes the magazine said the actress’s team did not request the correction.
From an editorial standpoint, this sort of makes sense.
Celebrity coverage often comes with promotional ties and — or as an editor may see it, a news peg — as well as certain guidelines. Madonna notoriously required a contract that gave her final photo approval (and copyright ownership) to appear on Rolling Stone’s 30th anniversary Women of Rock cover in 1997. Charlie Sheen requested $1 million and story approval from Vanity Fair in 2011. (He was declined.) A team of publicists and litigious management that typically comes with a cover-worthy celebrity and an agenda to push is bound to cross some editorial ethical guidelines. For sure.
However, Hudson’s new film with Zach Braff is a buzzworthy release and the timing with a mention and a cover seems mutually beneficial and in theory, reasonable. Letting readers know a particular film is coming out and that’s why they put Hudson on the cover is a relatively reasonable affirmation. However, that’s not the case. Running a blanket correction for failing to plug a project feels questionable. Why was it “edited out of an earlier version of the story”? Why wasn't the story’s editor aware that this was a major career movement being made by their cover actress in the month of the issue’s release and it would probably make sense to mention it?
The celebrity magazine cover, no doubt, has a strong hold on the industry. Even certain steely editors have succumbed to the celebrity “get” — even if inadvertently — to perk up advertising numbers and sales. And the relationship between the celebrity and cover story and photo shoot is a delicate one. When does it become a blatant advertisement verses finding a happy medium with an A-lister’s camp? What are the lines here? Let’s discuss.
h/t @msebastianRachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet her @rachelraczka.