Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor in Chief

Since taking the editorial helm at Mother Jones in late 2006, Clara and her co-editor, Monika Bauerlein, have won two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched MotherJones.com, founded a now 13-person Washington bureau, won a PEN award for editing, given birth, and forgotten what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

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Clara Jeffery is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: “With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns. In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein’s relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine’s increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their son, Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.

 

Copenhagen: Time To Get Over Ourselves

| Mon Dec. 7, 2009 3:16 AM EST

A few hours ago, the United Nations agency that is organizing the Copenhagen climate conference sent out a beleaguered-sounding email saying that the conference venue fits 15,000, but 34,000 people—delegates from around the world, journalists, NGO representatives—are trying to attend, so they're implementing a "quota system." Does that mean Al and Leo will have to wait in line?

For updates on that and many other pressing questions, bookmark the Blue Marble, MoJo's environmental blog, which will be covering the climate talks 24/7. Our Washington bureau chief, David Corn, is headed there as we write, as is blogger Kate Sheppard, and essayist Bill McKibben. And because climate change is the biggest story of our lifetimes, we've also joined forces with a group of other journalism shops, including the Nation, Grist, Treehugger, the Center for Investigative Reporting/Frontline World, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and The Uptake—together, we have several dozen reporters on the ground, and we'll be using a nifty by-journalists-for-journalists technology called Publish2 to pull together all of their posts and stories. (Check the right-hand column of the Blue Marble for the feed, and also this page.)

Hey, if any group of people is harder to get to collaborate than politicians, it's probably journalists. If the latter can get over our myriad hangups and work together, maybe there's hope for the former. (P.S.—while you're thinking about it, why not put a picture of your kid--or your pet, favorite celebrity, or self—on our climate cover? It's a fun way to let your friends, or your representatives, know where you stand.)

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Make Your Own MoJo Climate Cover!

| Fri Oct. 23, 2009 6:25 AM EDT

Impatient? Skip this post, start playing with the app!
 
Still here? Okay. If you're sick of the political inaction (or worse) on the most important issue of our time; if you think your kid or your cat is the cutest ever; if you really need to one-up those relatives who always send out those perfect family greeting cards; or if you're frustrated by stick-figure cover models made possible only via the magic of Photoshop; well, Mother Jones is here to help.
 
We've made an app that lets you put your kid/cat/aunt/whatever on the cover of our issue devoted to the political and economic changes that climate change will bring. Send it to your friends, your members of Congress, even President Obama. We'll feature some on our site (if you give us permission, of course).
 
This is just one (fun) part of our efforts on this topic. We're also pulling together a broad collaborative effort between many prominent news organizations to cover this topic better than any of us could on our own. (Read an interview on this initiative here.) In a few weeks we're sending 350.org founder and MoJo contributor Bill McKibben, MoJo DC bureau chief David Corn and reporter Kate Sheppard to Copenhagen to cover the global climate talks. There, they'll team up with other news organizations, and even comedian Eugene Mirman, to give the conference the kind of fearless coverage it deserves.
 
We need your help to support our coverage. To send Bill, David, and Kate to Cophenhagen and keep the heat on. Imagine what it would mean if we hadn't exposed how ExxonMobil has been funding climate change denialists. Or how the US Chamber of Commerce inflated its membership numbers as part of its anti-climate initiative (reporting that's been hailed by the Washington Post Rachel Maddow, and the New Yorker, among others). Or why seemingly disparate weather issues have scientists so worried.
 
So please consider donating to Mother Jones. As a nonprofit, we depend on you to respect and support the kind of work we do. And when it comes to the climate, all of our futures hang in the balance.
 
Oh, and... go make your cover! And if you like it, tell your friends.

Will Ahmadinejad Free the Hikers?

| Wed Sep. 23, 2009 2:01 AM EDT

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad always goes on a bit of a PR offensive during his trip to New York for the UN General Assembly, doing interviews and meeting with prominent Americans. This year's visit, which comes after the brutal suppression of election protests in Iran as well as on the heels of a fresh round of Holocaust denial, should be a bit more challenging than usual, with massive protests planned outside the UN. On one front, though, the Iranian president seems to be offering an olive branch: In an interview with the AP, he signals that he'll ask Iranian courts to treat three US hikers detained in Iran, including MoJo contributor Shane Bauer, with "maximum leniency." (The hikers' mothers last week issued an open letter (pdf) asking Ahmadinejad to bring their children with him to New York.) 

For another American held in Iraq, Ahmadinejad offered less hope, reports the AP: 

"[He] also was asked about the case of an Iranian-Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari, who was working for Newsweek magazine and imprisoned while covering the social unrest in Iran after the disputed June presidential election. Ahmadinejad did not reply about Bahari, limiting his remarks to the case of the hikers."

 Stay tuned for more signals during Ahmadinejad's speech today.

Congressman Joe "You Lie" Wilson

| Wed Sep. 9, 2009 9:51 PM EDT

You'd have thought that a California Assemblyman being caught on tape bragging about spanking and sexing not one but two lobbyists would have been the most embarrassing GOP gaffe of the day.

You would be wrong. Because South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson did him one better when he shouted "You Lie." At the President.  During a nationally televised live speech. Before a joint session of Congress. The look of genuine horror that passes over Pelosi's face pretty much says it all. A new low.

Folks in the Twittersphere are tageting Wilson (@congjoewilson ) with calls and petitions. Senator John McCain told Larry King Wilson should apologize immediately. And this conservative thinks Wilson should be censured, at least.

So it's going to be interesting to see how this plays outside of the punditocracy. Have our politics gotten so nasty that calling the president a liar before congress is just so much small beer? Or is this a Rick Lazio moment (that is: able to upset center-right voters so much that they throw their weight behind the other guy. Or in Lazio's case, gal.)

We'll see. Meanwhile, Dana Goldstein of the American Prospect tweeted that while she finds Joe Wilson "unhinged," she's ok with him shouting out, if it means that Congress will start acting more like the UK's rowdy Parliament, something that, wait for it, John McCain advocates! (h/t NPR's David Folkenflick).

I love a good Parliamentary tussle, but to my mind the difference between that and Wilson's eruption is a world of wit, and occasional wisdom, away. Furthermore, Slate's June Thomas notes that you can't use the L-word (different one) at PMQ (prime minister questions?). "If you do, speaker sternly asks the member to withdraw. Some euphemisms for lying OK."

Fabling? Canarding?

Update: Wilson issued an apology. Also, he called Rahm Emanuel to personally apologize. Safe to say he got an earful.

Update II: Focus groups of armed with those dial things show a strong backlash against GOP tactics during speech, especially Wilson's outburst. So you can be sure he's getting an earful from the Rahm of the right, too.

Update III: Via Gawker's fun Wilson wrap-up (turns out his real name is Addison), folks have used ActBlue to give Wilson's opponent @ $40K and counting...Holy [deleted], that's jumped to almost $80 K in under an hour...By morning it was @$140K. Now $200K+. Safe to say rate of about $10K an hour...

Update VI: Via @junethomas, more terms you can't hurl in Parliment: "The specific terms to which the Speaker has objected over the years include blackguard, coward, git, guttersnipe, hooligan, rat, stoolpigeon, swine, and traitor." 

Update V: joewilsonisyourpreexistingcondition.com (keep refreshing)

Clara Jeffery is Co-editor of Mother Jones. You can read more of her stories here and follow her on Twitter here. And don't miss what David Corn, Kevin Drum, and Jim Ridgeway have to say about Obama's speech.

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