The Mother Jones Press Room

Mother Jones Reports Highest-Ever Online Traffic, Digital Ad Revenue, and Social Media Participation

Dek: 
Multiple mammoth stories in February put online growth at 420 percent year-over-year.
Date: 
Wed Mar. 2, 2011
Contact: 
Anna Pulley
Phone Number: 
(415) 321-1708

Mother Jones today announced record-breaking jumps for the month of February 2011 in online traffic and digital ad revenue. The nonprofit organization also saw unprecedented growth in social media participation.

Mother Jones, published by the Foundation for National Progress, reported that the number of unique visitors to its website, MotherJones.com, shot up by 420 percent to more than 3 million compared to February 2010. Monthly page views on MotherJones.com also increased by 275 percent to more than 6.6 million compared to a year ago. Audience growth translated into digital ad revenue growth, as well: Compared to a year ago, digital advertising revenue for the months of January and February 2011 showed a 200 percent increase.

"Mother Jones is not only keeping up with the 24/7 news cycle, our reporters are shaping it," said publisher Steven Katz. "Whether we're explaining fast-breaking events in the Middle East, live-tweeting from the floor of the Wisconsin State Capitol, or delivering in-depth reporting on America's growing income inequality, Mother Jones is at the forefront of the future of journalism."

Much of the growth was spurred by social media: Mother Jones' Twitter followers increased 28 percent in February, to more than 43,000. The magazine's Facebook fan base grew 20 percent, to nearly 40,000. And the new MoJo Tumblr saw its following jump 200 percent last month, to nearly 3,000 followers. The result: 29 percent of MotherJones.com's traffic came from social media sites, nearly three times the amount garnered in the same period in 2010.

"Across the organization we are firing on all pistons, remaining focused, and it's definitely paying off," CEO Madeleine Buckingham said. "We are reaching new online audiences, our profile in the news journalism world has been raised considerably, we are currently surpassing all digital revenue goals, and we're landing some major scoops."

"Just as importantly," Katz continued, "our exposés on right-wing attacks on women, the threat of hidden corporate money on our democracy, and wrongdoing by public officials help give people the facts they need to take action that gets results. And our readers—new and old—are letting us know they want more of what we're doing."

Recent major stories include:

  • Mother Jones' acclaimed "Explainer" articles to keep readers abreast of events in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Wisconsin. Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab praised the stories as "creative, context-focused journalism" that provides readers with a cutting-edge "choose-your-own adventure interaction."
  • Writer Kevin Drum's March-April cover story, "Plutocracy Now," on the growth of wealth inequality in America and its connection to a national decline in union strength. From The Economist to The Atlantic to Capitol Hill, Drum's cogent analysis has spurred a hot debate on the future of the American middle class.
  • An exposé on an Indiana deputy attorney general who called for the shooting of union protesters—and much more—on his public Twitter and blog accounts. MoJo's investigation fueled a national outcry against violent political rhetoric and quickly persuaded state officials to fire the offender.
  • The first national media coverage of a prank call—as well as the first interview with the caller—to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, which exposed Republicans' plans to bust public unions and defang state Democratic lawmakers. The call's revelations helped erode support for Walker’s anti-collective bargaining bid.

Buckingham added that the organization's entire staff, based in Washington, DC, New York, and San Francisco, already has a host of new stories and investigations in store for March and beyond. "Our recent online scoops, new readers, enhanced visibility, and credibility continue to elevate our position as a real player and influencer of public discourse in this country," she said. "Mother Jones is making a difference."

Co-edited by Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery since 2006, Mother Jones continued its winning streak in 2010 with more than 26 awards for investigative reporting, photojournalism, and illustration. These included the 2010 National Magazine Award for General Excellence (the "Oscars" of the magazine trade) and the Online News Association's (ONA) 2010 Online Topical Reporting award for team coverage of the BP oil spill. Mother Jones was the only magazine with a print edition to take home an ONA award.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Anna Pulley at (415) 321-1708 or apulley@motherjones.com.