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.

 

State of Geographical Denial (Note to Cheney: Get a GPS Unit...)

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 3:38 PM EDT

A tidbit from Woodward's book, via George Will:


While leading the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the summer of 2003, David Kay received a phone call from "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who wanted a particular place searched: "The vice president wants to know if you've looked at this area. We have indications -- and here are the geocoordinates -- that something's buried there." Kay and his experts located the area on the map. It was in the middle of Lebanon.

Of course then George goes on to say this is not the fault of the Bush administration, per se, but a fault of big government, and "those who regard government as a glistening scalpel for administering social transformation."

Ah yes. Well, when it comes to Iraq, at this point I'd be happy if the Bush administration could just pull off some meatball surgery.

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The Washington Times Calls for Speaker Dennis Hastret to Resign Over Foley Scandal

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 3:22 AM EDT

Good flipping god! The editors of The Washington Times, the most conservative paper in the country, are calling for the resignation of the Republican Speaker of the House.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.
Uh, all election bets are now officially off. (BTW: The Congressman the WT is putting forth as the interim Speaker? Mr. Abortion Foe/ OG "Youthful Indisicretion" Guy: Henry Hyde. But of course.)

Whole editorial after the jump.

What Can Women Write? The Byline Divide

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 3:01 AM EDT

Over at WomenTK.com, Ruth Davis Konigsberg, who's also an editor at Glamour, has analyzed a year's worth of bylines at general interest magazines—namely Harper's, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair—and found that overall the ratio of male writers to female is 3 to 1. (TK, by the way, is reporter/editor shorthand for "to come," as in haven't yet nailed this fact/gotten this quote.)

The breakdown is as follows:

The Atlantic: 3.6 to 1
Harper's: 7 to 1
The New Yorker: 4 to 1
New York Times Magazine: 2 to 1
Vanity Fair: 2.7 to 1

As Ruth notes (and I've noted before here and here):

The numbers speak volumes, but they're not the whole story. As a former editor at The New Yorker wrote me in an e-mail, "in addition to counting bylines, you should look at what women are allowed to write about. I've been struck by a pattern, at The Atlantic in particular, where women only seem to write about marriage, motherhood and nannies, obsessively so. If you count the number of women's bylines there that weren't about hearth and home, the number would approach zero." And a current student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism also noted, "At The New Yorker, it seems as though many of the female bylines aren't for hard-news-type stories. Women write about dance, or they write the short story, or a poem, or a profile of a fashion designer, or something. But the 'heavy' stories are left to the guys."
At a panel I was recently at with editors of all these magazines, the EIC of the NYT Mag, Gerry Marzorati, rightly noted that part of the issue is that the punditocracy is dominated by men, in part because (warning: gross generalizations apply) they are more likely to believe that the world is just waiting to hear what they have to say.

But another part of it is, as Ruth quotes, Ursula K. Le Guin's observation that "there is solid evidence for the fact that when women speak more than 30 percent of the time, men perceive them as dominating the conversation."

Media on Foley: Bloggers vs. Old Media

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 2:24 AM EDT

So amid this story about how various mainstream media outlets (among them the St. Petersburg Times, the Miami Herald, and NBC's Brian Ross) were alerted to the Foley situation months ago and chose not to run with it, is the source of what eventually prodded the capital P Press to pick up the story: Stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.

Despite three days of full-court press coverage, this website is still something of a mystery (though one that may be solved by the time I wake up tomorrow). It began in July, and has had just a handful of posts, most of them Foley related.

Conservative bloggers like Americanthinker wonder, as do I, what/who is behind SSP—or more to the point, how it/they managed to push this story out. Notes Tom Maquire at Justoneminute

And yet, 3 separate people who had contact with Congressman Foley somehow found this website independent of one another and supposedly sent emails to the owner of this site to complain about Foley's inappropriate behavior.
Color me skeptical. Maybe the blog author was an unwitting catspaw, but I would want some assurance that this was not simply a successful attempt to promote a story that wasn't quite ready for the Mainstream Media by laundering it through some blogs.

Which is an interesting point, as is the (gasp!) notion that Foley's opponent helped to push out the story, though then Tom veers off into a heady mixture of denial and desperation. Make no mistake, when confronted with the IMs, Foley instantly folded up the tent and went to rehab, which he wouldn't have if he could have denied or somehow justified the correspondence.

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times editor's note on why the paper didn't run with the story—detailing valid concerns as: we don't go with unnamed allegations, amid some waffling—can be found here.

In a nutshell, this looks to be as interesting a media story as a political one.

Polls Find Dems Have Good Chance to Take Senate (If They Can Get Out the Vote)

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 1:15 AM EDT

What follows is an NBC analysis:

"Five weeks out from the midterm elections, MSNBC/McClatchy polls, conducted by Mason-Dixon in eight states, show Democrats are in striking distance of taking control of the Senate. The Democrats are very likely to gain several Senate seats with some races still rated as toss-ups.

In the Senate, Democrats need to gain six seats to regain control of the chamber. Our polls show that this is certainly possible as five races are toss-ups, one now narrowly shows a gain for Democrats -- Pennsylvania -- and the party maintains control of Sen. Maria Cantwell's Senate seat in Washington. In addition, other Mason-Dixon polls released Sunday indicate trouble for Republicans in three other GOP-held seats.

•In Pennsylvania, incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum is well behind his challenger Bob Casey, with Casey currently ahead by 9 percentage points, 49 percent to 40 percent, with 10percent undecided.
• In Rhode Island, incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse are in a virtual tie with Whitehouse supported by 42 percent of likely voters compared to Chafee's 41 percent. But there are still 1 7percent undecided.
• In Virginia, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen, whose campaign has recently been plagued with public gaffes and charges of the candidate as racist, and his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, are tied with 43 percent each and 12 percent undecided.
• In Missouri, incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent and Democrat Claire McCaskill are tied with 43 percent each and 13 percent still undecided.
• In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is in a virtual tie with his Republican challenger, Tom Kean, Jr., with 44 percent of likely voters supporting Menendez and 41 percent supporting Kean. There are still 13 percent undecided.
• In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell leads Republican challenger Mike McGavick by 10 percentage points, 50 percent to 40 percent, with 9percent undecided.
• In Maryland, Democratic candidate Ben Cardin is leading his Republican opponent, Michael Steele, 47 percent to 41 percent, with 12 percent of voters still undecided.

And in other Mason-Dixon polls, Democrats seem well positioned to gain seats:

• In Ohio, a Plain Dealer poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine and Democrat Sherrod Brown in a virtual tie, 43 percent for DeWine to 45 percent for Brown. There are 10 percent undecided in this race.
•In Montana, a Lee Newspaper poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns trailing Democratic challenger Jon Tester by a 40 percent to 47 percent margin with 10 percent undecided.
• In Tennessee, a poll conducted for the Memphis Commercial Appeal Chattanooga Free Press shows Harold Ford, Jr. and Bob Corker in a virtual tie, 43 percent for Ford to 42 percent for Corker with 14 percent still undecided.

In all, these key Senate races show the following:

• Two Republican incumbents in very serious trouble, Burns and Santorum.
• Four Republican incumbents tied with their challengers, Chaffee, Allen, Talent, and DeWine.
• One Democratic incumbent tied with his challenger, Menendez.
• One Democratic incumbent with a real lead, Cantwell.
• One Democratic open seat with a Democrat in the lead, Cardin in Maryland.
• One Republican open seat with a tie, Tennessee.

The results show that the Democrats have a real chance of gaining control of the Senate. However, as the election approaches, Democrats may have to lead by significant amounts to counteract the well-funded Republican get-out-the-vote effort. And almost every toss up seat needs to break for the Democrats for them to gain the six seats that they need."

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