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Mother Jones magazine March April 2014 cover
|First issue||February 1976|
|Company||Foundation For National Progress|
|Based in||San Francisco|
Mother Jones (abbreviated MoJo) is a progressive American magazine that focuses on news, commentary, and investigative reporting on topics including politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Clara Jeffery serves as editor. Steve Katz has been publisher since 2010. Monika Bauerlein has been CEO since 2015.
Mother Jones is published by the Foundation for National Progress (FNP), 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."
Michael Moore, who had owned and published the Flint, Michigan-based Michigan Voice for ten years, followed English and edited Mother Jones for several months, until he was fired for disputed reasons. Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard reported this was for refusing to print an article that was critical of the Sandinista human rights record in Nicaragua — a view supported by The Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn, but denied by Hochschild and others at the magazine.
Moore believes that he was fired because of his defiant reaction to the publisher's refusal to allow him to cover a story on the GM plant closings in Flint. Moore also felt that he did not have a chance to shape the magazine, and that many of the articles that were printed during his time as editor were articles that had already been commissioned by Deirdre English.
After being fired in the fall of 1986, Moore sued Mother Jones for $2 million for wrongful termination, but settled with the magazine’s insurance company for $58,000—only $8,000 over the initial offering.
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.
As the magazine’s first post-baby boomer editors, Bauerlein and Jeffery used a new investigative team of senior and young reporters to increase original reporting, web-based database tools,[clarification needed] 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?" In 2015, Bauerlein became CEO and Jeffery became sole editor in chief.
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.
The Park Center for Independent Media named Mother Jones the winner of the fifth annual Izzy Award in April 2013, 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 August 2013, Mother Jones' co-editors Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery won the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. Also in 2010, Mother Jones won the Online News Association Award for Online Topical Reporting, and in 2011 won the Utne Reader Independent Press Award for General Excellence.
In 2017, Mother Jones won the Magazine of the Year award from the American Society of Magazine Editors.
In addition to stories from the print magazine, MotherJones.com offers original reported content seven days a week. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, MotherJones.com was the first to report John McCain's "100 years in Iraq" comment. 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. 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. The print magazine listed the 400 donors in order with thumbnail profiles and the amount they contributed. MotherJones.com (then known as the MoJo Wire) listed the donors in a searchable database.
In the 2006 election, MotherJones.com was the first to break stories on the use of robocalling, a story that TPM Muckraker and The New York Times picked up. The Iraq War Timeline interactive database, a continually updated interactive online project, was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2006.
In the 2004 film The Lady Killers, the character Garth Pancake (J.K. Simmons), a liberal activist turned criminal, attempts to run off with $1.6 million in cash that he and his partners stole from a gambling ferry boat. Mr. Pancake empties a bag full of the stolen cash and fills it with his collection of Mother Jones magazines.