Mother Jones (magazine)
Mother Jones, cover dated July/August 2009
|Editor-in-Chief||Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery|
|First issue||February 1976|
|Company||Foundation For National Progress|
Mother Jones (abbreviated MoJo) is a politically left-leaning American magazine, featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery serve as co-editors. Madeleine Buckingham has served as Chief Executive Officer and Steve Katz as Publisher since 2010.
The magazine was named after Mary Harris Jones, called Mother Jones, an Irish-American trade union activist, opponent of child labor, and self-described "hellraiser". She was a part of the Knights of Labor, the Industrial Workers of the World, the Social Democratic Party, the Socialist Party of America, the United Mine Workers of America, and the Western Federation of Miners. The stated mission of Mother Jones is to produce revelatory journalism that in its power and reach informs and inspires a more just and democratic world.
Mother Jones is published by the Foundation for National Progress, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Mother Jones and the FNP are based in San Francisco, with other offices in Washington, D.C., and New York.
For the first five years after its inception in 1976, Mother Jones operated with an editorial board, and members of the board took turns serving as managing editor for one-year terms. People who served on the editorial team during those years included Adam Hochschild, Paul Jacobs, Richard Parker, Deborah Johnson, Jeffrey Bruce Klein, Mark Dowie, Amanda Spake, Zina Klapper, and Deirdre English. According to Hochschild, Parker, "who worked as both editor and publisher, saw to it that Mother Jones took the best of what could be learned from the world of commercial publishing".
In 1981, Deirdre English was named the magazine’s first editor-in-chief, a position she held until 1986. A strong feminist, she brought women’s voices to the fore in the magazine and oversaw considerable coverage of Central America, the Sandinistas, and the Contras. She also brought in Barbara Ehrenreich as a regular columnist.
Michael Moore, who had owned and published the Flint-based "Michigan Voice" for ten years, followed English and edited Mother Jones for several months. After being fired in the fall of 1986, Moore sued Mother Jones for US$2 million for wrongful termination, but settled with the magazine’s insurance company for US$58,000 – only US$8,000 over the initial offering. Moore felt that he did not have a chance to shape the magazine. Many of the articles that were printed during his time as editor were articles that had already been commissioned by Deirdre English. An article by Paul Berman about Nicaragua, which was slightly critical of the Sandinistas (Mother Jones generally supported the Sandinistas) was one of those articles commissioned by English. Moore did not want to print it, but the magazine had made a commitment to Berman. The Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn believed the disagreement over the Berman article was the sole reason for the firing, but Hochschild and others at the magazine denied this.
For his part, Moore claimed in his 1989 documentary film Roger & Me that he was terminated because he put the face of Ben Hamper on the cover of an issue, an act of defiance after being refused an opportunity to write about the GM plant closings in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.
Books about Moore by Jesse Larner (Forgive Us Our Spins: Michael Moore and the Future of the Left) and Roger Rapoport (Citizen Moore: The Life and Times of an American Iconoclast) extensively cover Moore's difficult relationships with people during his brief editorship.
Douglas Foster, an Emmy-winning TV producer and a writer who had covered labor issues for Mother Jones in the 1970s, followed Moore. Foster’s magazine featured regular columns from Molly Ivins, Roger Wilkins, and Ralph Nader. During his tenure, the magazine excerpted Randy Shilts' groundbreaking book, "And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic".
In the fall of 1992, Jeffrey Bruce Klein, one of the original editorial team, returned as editor-in-chief, bringing an intense focus on Washington politics, including extensive coverage of Newt Gingrich, campaign finance, and the tobacco industry. He was a frequent guest on radio and television shows, spearheaded many collaborations between the magazine and website, and brought comedian Paula Poundstone on as a regular columnist.
Roger Cohn succeeded Klein as editor-in-chief in 1999. Cohn brought to the forefront environmental and social justice stories from around the country. It was during his tenure that the 25-year-old magazine won a 2001 National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
Russ Rymer was named editor-in-chief in early 2005, and under his tenure the magazine published more essays and extensive packages of articles on domestic violence (July/August 2005), and the role of religion in politics (December 2005).
In August 2006, Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery were promoted from within to become co-editors of the magazine. Bauerlein and Jeffery, who had served as interim editors between Cohn and Rymer, were also chiefly responsible for some of the biggest successes of the magazine in the past several years, including a package on ExxonMobil's funding of climate change "deniers" (May/June 2005) that was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Public Interest reporting; a package on the rapid decline in the health of the ocean (March/April 2006), and the magazine's massive Iraq War Timeline interactive database.
The first post-baby boomer editors in the history of Mother Jones, Bauerlein and Jeffery have used a new investigative team of senior and young reporters to increase original reporting, web-based database tools, and blog commentary on MotherJones.com. The cover of their first issue (November 2006) asked: "Evolve or Die: Can humans get past denial and deal with global warming?"
David Corn, a political journalist and former Washington editor for The Nation, is bureau chief of the magazine's newly established D.C. bureau. Other D.C. staff have included Washington Monthly contributing editor Stephanie Mencimer, former Village Voice correspondent James Ridgeway, and Adam Serwer from The American Prospect.
In April 2013, it was named winner of the fifth annual Izzy Award, awarded by the Park Center for Independent Media for "special achievement in independent media", for its 2012 reporting, including its analysis of gun violence in the United States, coverage of dark money funding of candidates, and release of a video of Mitt Romney stating that 47 percent of the people of the United States see themselves as victims and are dependent on the government.
In addition to stories from the print magazine, MotherJones.com offers original reported content seven days a week. During the race In the 2008 election campaign, MotherJones.com was the first to report John McCain's "100 years in Iraq" comments. Also in 2008, MotherJones.com was the first outlet to report on Beckett Brown International, a security firm that spied on environmental groups for corporations.
Winner of the 2005 and 2006 "People’s Choice" Webby Award for politics, MotherJones.com has provided extensive coverage of both Gulf wars, presidential election campaigns, and other key events of the last decade. Mother Jones began posting its magazine content on the Internet in November 1993, the first general interest magazine in the country to do so. A number of innovative uses of this new medium would follow. In the March/April 1996 issue, the magazine published the first Mother Jones 400, a listing of the largest individual donors to federal political campaigns. In the print magazine, the 400 donors were listed in order with thumbnail profiles and the amount they contributed. On MotherJones.com (then known as the MoJo Wire) the donors were listed in a searchable database.
In the 2006 election, MotherJones.com was the first to break stories on the use of robocalling, a story that was then picked up by TPM Muckraker and The New York Times. The Iraq War Timeline interactive database, a continually updated interactive online project, was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2006. The site has also produced extensive special reports on the U.S. prison system and the state of the planet’s coral reefs.
Mother Jones Radio
Launched on June 19, 2005, Mother Jones Radio was heard on Air America Radio Sundays at 1:00 p.m. ET. The one-hour show was hosted by Angie Coiro and featured interviews and commentaries inspired by stories from Mother Jones. Mother Jones Radio ended its production in early 2007.
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- "Exclusive: Cops and Former Secret Service Agents Ran Black Ops on Green Groups". Mother Jones. April 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- 10th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners, 9th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners
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