By Zoe Smith
The forthcoming edition of GQ features an article chronicling the rise of the "super columnists" — the "elite group of newspaper columnists who have risen to the top of the journalist pay scale".
The magazine includes irreverent profiles of the top 20 columnists in Britain — Polly Toynbee’s appearance is likened to an Oxfam charity shop worker, while Johann Hari’s subject of choice is described as: "I’m the youngest gay in the village."
Editor Dylan Jones said: "There is a real premium on outspoken columnists at the moment. As well as columnists being adept at interpreting the news in particular ways, both editors and readers are looking for the contrary voice."
The list, which also includes Julie Burchill and Richard Littlejohn, is an all-white, predominantly male and generally mature affair (49.5 is their average age).
Jones said: "We chose the most high-profile columnists. It was a difficult process, highlighting the ones we wanted to focus on. We then had to edit them down from a long list.
"We think the columnists we have profiled are the ones with the highest public persona."
He said that as more people receive their news electronically, the interpretation of the news will become even more important.
Jones refused to be drawn on who his favourite or most loathed columnists were. He said: "I couldn’t possibly tell you, but let’s just say that one list is longer than the other."