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.

 

Attack of the Killer Jellyfish! (Yet Another Side Effect of Global Warming)

| Fri Jul. 21, 2006 5:08 PM EDT

Later today, NPR has promised us an All Things Considered story on swarming jellyfish. Of late they've been a problem in Hawaii, North Carolina, and to Japan's nuclear reactors:

JellyFish2.jpg

A mass of jellyfish proved an unlikely thorn in the side of the Japanese nuclear industry this week when they choked a pipe, which feeds cooling water into a coastal plant.

The output from the Hamaoka reactors was slashed by 30 to 40% after the cooling system automatically shut down, returning to full power about three hours later once workers had cleared the jellyfish blockage. This was the first time jellyfish have affected power generation in Japan.

(We know where this leads.)

We here at Mother Jones have been obsessed with the attack of the killer (or at least really, really painful) jellies for the last several years, ever since we heard that in 2000, swarms of 25-pound jellyfish native to Australia invaded the Gulf of Mexico. So numerous were these Australian invaders, that the shrimp fishermen of the Gulf lost a lot of their harvest because the jellies weighed down their nets.

Jelly invasions appear to be yet another result of human-induced global climate change. (More instances of jellie invasions can be found here and here.) Changes to seawater's salinity or Ph levels cause jellies and other species to migrate far beyond their historic range. And tropical storms and hurricanes, which are increasing in number and severity due to climate change, can also reroute the jellies, as just happened in the Carolinas. Also, one of the jellies' main predators, turtles and tortoises, are being decimated, thanks to overfishing, pollution, and the like. (For more on all these issues see Julia Whitty's piece on the fate of the ocean and the rest of our ocean package.)

jellyfish-attack200.jpg

According to this story, a new study out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute reports that tiny jellyfish-like creatures called salps are helping get rid of some carbon dioxide by "transporting tons of it daily from the ocean surface to the deep sea and preventing it from re-entering the atmosphere and contributing again to the greenhouse effect and possibly to global warming."

Which seems like great news, until you realize that way salps do this is by digesting huge amounts of phytoplankton, and as Whitty reports, these plankton, which are the foundation of all life in the sea, are also at risk from warming waters and changing salinity and Ph.

In other words, a potential check on global warming is being threatened by…global warming.

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Reporters who didn't buy the WMD line

| Fri Jul. 21, 2006 4:41 PM EDT

Over at Nieman Watchdog, Gilbert Cranberg says Knight Ridder's "DC bureau and Landay, Strobel, Walcott deserve high honors for their reports challenging the Bush administration during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq."

Amen.

Stem Cell Side Effects=WMD?

| Fri Jul. 21, 2006 12:20 PM EDT

Over on NPR, Congressman Dan Lundgren is allowed, in an unchallenged piece of commentary, a few minutes of complete doublespeak on the stem cell debate, in which he claims that embryonic stem cell research (in addition to being a mortal sin, natch) would result in tumors and other side effects straight out of X-Men.

Despite Rep. Lundgren's intimations to the contrary, tumor growth is a problem bedeviling adult stem cell researchers, too. This shouldn't be surprising—with either adult or embryonic stem cells, scientists are dealing with, and manipulating, cell growth and death and division. All very complicated stuff, which is why a lot of research is key.

But I'd pay attention to this "tumor" meme. It has the feeling of "mobile weapons labs" to me.

Vouchers: The new New Math

| Thu Jul. 20, 2006 8:20 PM EDT

Last Friday, the Department of Education released a report showing that students attending public schools generally did as well as or better than comparable students in private schools.

According to the New York Times:

That report examined test scores of 700,000 fourth and eighth graders at public schools and those of 25,000 private school students. It found that when students of like economic, racial and family backgrounds were compared, public school students did as well as or better than those in private school in fourth grade reading and math and in eighth grade math. The exception was eighth grade reading, in which private school students did better.

Then on Tuesday, the Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, joined congressional Republicans in their proposal to spend $100 million on vouchers.

Asked about the DOE's own study, "Ms. Spellings, at the news conference, called the report's sample small and its results ''basically inconclusive.'"

Hmmm. I'm no statistician but…

Judge threatens illegal immigrant seeking a restraining order against her husband with deportation

| Thu Jul. 20, 2006 5:26 PM EDT

Sam Quinones of the LAT reports that:

A substitute judge hearing the case of an illegal immigrant seeking a restraining order against her husband threatened to turn her over to immigration officials if she didn't leave his courtroom.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Bruce R. Fink told Aurora Gonzalez during last week's hearing that he was going to count to 20 and that if she was still in his courtroom when he finished, he would have her arrested and deported to Mexico.

In an interview Wednesday, Fink said that the woman had admitted in court that she was in the country illegally and that he didn't want her to get in trouble with immigration officials.

"We have a federal law that says that this status is not allowed," Fink said. "You can't just ignore it. What I really wanted was to not give this woman any problems."

He said he thought the couple "obviously wanted to get back together" and that he was trying to avoid granting a restraining order that would keep them apart for at least a year. He said he also thought the court order might lead to Gonzalez's deportation, because her husband would not be able to continue helping her get legal residency.


You can read the rest here.

Thanks to Charles Bowden for pointing this story out.

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