President Obama to guest edit special issue of WIRED magazine

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the third night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 27, 2016.

REUTERS/Jim Young

Throughout the past eight, President Barack Obama’s tenure has become synonymous with many historic “firsts”: the first black president, the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, the first president on Twitter.

Now, he’ll also reign as the first sitting president to guest edit a magazine. The technology news magazine WIRED has invited the 44th president to take on an active role in its upcoming October issue dedicated to “frontiers,” an umbrella theme that’ll be used to describe the obstacles facing humanity. This, according to WIRED, will encompass everything from personal frontiers to national frontiers --think civil rights-- and international ones, like climate change and cybersecurity.

“We want to wrestle with the idea of how today’s technology can influence political leadership,” editor in chief Scott Dadich said. “And who better to help us explore these ideas than President Obama?”

President Obama isn’t the first famous guest editor of the tech magazine. WIRED has welcomed several high profile guest editors in the past: J.J. Abrams on magic, mysteries and puzzles; Bill Gates on solving the world’s biggest problems; Christopher Nolan on space, time, and multiple dimensions; and Serena Williams on equality in the digital age.

And, this is just one of many recent stints where President Obama has delved into  modern pop culture. To celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama narrated a ten-minute virtual reality film. In June, Buzzfeed featured the commander in chief in the spoof video “5 things that are harder than registering to vote.”

In conjunction with the guest edit, the White House announced a Frontiers conference, which President Obama will host at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University on October 13.

Digital copies of the magazine are expected to hit select newsstands October 18. The issue will make a nationwide appearance on October 25.

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.