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.

 

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Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery Talk Dark Money With Bill Moyers

| Fri Jun. 15, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

Bill Moyers invited us to come on his show this week to chat about dark money, the undisclosed, often untraceable political spending made possible by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. In a wide-ranging (and incredibly gracious) interview, he asked us about everything from the latest super-PAC machinations to the nexus between political money and income inequality. Watch: 

MoJo’s FBI Informants Story Wins Major International Award

| Thu May 31, 2012 2:00 PM EDT

That clinking sound you hear is the toasting at MoJo's offices at the news that our "Terrorists for the FBI" project has won the international Data Journalism Award in the investigative category. (Read it here.) "This story is, by far, the best investigative piece" among the finalists, the jury said. "It shows the significant effort required to gather large amounts of data, analyze it, and deeply investigate the individual cases. The analysis discovered a clear pattern on how the FBI generated terrorist plots from sting operations. The investigation proves that conclusion, not only with numbers, but also with in depth analysis and reporting in the field."

The result of an 18-month investigation by reporter Trevor Aaronson in collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley, the story started from the observation that in many of the high-profile terror prosecutions—the Portland Christmas tree bomber, say, or the Bronx synagogue bomber—it was actually a government informant who provided the jihadist rhetoric, the plot, the money, and even the explosives or weapons. Curious about this pattern, Aaronson reviewed every terror prosecution since 9/11—cases involving 508 defendants in all—and scoured thousands of pages of court documents. Aaronson's data were refined, expanded, and comprehensively fact-checked by a team of reporters and editors, then turned into an online database and compelling visualizations by MoJo's developers and designers.

Among the investigation's findings: 

  • Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations. (For more on the details of those 508 cases, see our charts page and searchable database.)
  • Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
  • With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
  • In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded—making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.
  • Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don't risk a trial.

You can analyze the data yourself (parsing them by, say, state or alleged terrorist group affiliation), view fact sheets on individual defendants, and peruse our interactive charts. And, of course, you can read the other stories in our "Terrorists for the FBI" package, including a profile of radical-turned-informant Brandon Darby, and an investigation of the FBI's "proxy detention" program under which Americans are interrogated, and allegedly tortured, by overseas security forces.

This was a major endeavor for Mother Jones—unlike some of our larger peers, we don't have a roomful of computer-assisted-reporting specialists. Instead, we relied on equal parts shoe-leather and innovation; to be honored for it by our global peers is a dream come true. Follow us at @MonikaBauerlein and @ClaraJeffery as we tweet the World News Summit from Paris, drunk with excitement (and, um, surely nothing else).

15 Reasons You Should Donate to Mother Jones

| Fri Apr. 27, 2012 3:00 AM EDT

Hello dear readers! Yes, it's fundraising time, and we encourage you to donate a few dollars to the Mother Jones Investigative Fund to support independent, investigative journalism.

Unlike NPR, we can't hold your commute hostage to our pleas for money. But what we can do is remind you of some compelling reasons to part with a few of your hard-earned bucks. Ready?

1) Because we still do great longform journalism. Like Mac McClelland's undercover exposé into the warehouse wage slaves behind your online purchases.

2) Because half of all our magazine pieces in 2011 had a female byline–way more than most news/political magazines.

 

3) Because our income inequality charts are so good that Occupy Wall Street protestors put them on signs, Stephen Colbert built a segment around them, and Slate said they deserved a Pulitzer.

4) Because our reporters braved tear gas and arrest rather than back off covering the Occupy movement.

5) Because from pig brains to pink slime, we're not afraid to gross you out.

6) Because we were instrumental in bringing the photography of Vivian Maier to light.

 

 

7) Because we explained and reported the heck out of the Trayvon Martin killing

8) Because we stopped the GOP from redefining rape.

9) Because we made an "are you a slut?" flowchart and support a woman's right to choose to knit her congressman a vagina:

10) Because we allow smart celebrities to speak their mind.

Source: motherjones.com via Mother on Pinterest

11) Because you deserve to know about the nukes speeding by your house.

12) Because our yearlong investigation of the FBI's domestic informant program was so good, it's been picked up by all the big papers (though not always with credit).

13) Because remember the whole exploding Ford Pinto thing? Yeah, that was us.

14) Because we pay our interns, and don't pit them against one another in a weekly acid-saber-fight cage match where only the triumphant one is allowed food.

15) Because we'll help you know the difference between Newt and Schrute.


BONUS: Still not sure? Okay, fine: We invented the po' boy...maybe.

 Delicious oyster po' boy.: fdasA delicious oyster po' boy. Joyce Marrero/ShutterstockWe couldn't have done a single one of these stories without your support. We're a nonprofit, and the support of readers is what keeps us alive. If you've appreciated any of these stories, please donate $5 or $10 to the Mother Jones Investigative Fund right now. We've almost reached our goal, and your gift could be the one that gets us all the way there. Plus, next time you see a great story on Mother Jones, you'll know you played an important part in making it happen. Please give today via credit card or PayPal. Thanks!

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