Monika Bauerlein


Since taking the helm at Mother Jones in 2006, Monika and editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery have won two National Magazine Awards, launched a nine-person Washington bureau, relaunched the website, given birth, and forgotten what it’s like to sleep.

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Monika Bauerlein is CEO of Mother Jones. Previously, she served as co-editor with Clara Jeffery, who is now editor-in-chief. Together, they spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, the addition of a 12-person Washington Bureau, and an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy that grew's traffic more than tenfold. She has also worked as Mother Jones' investigative editor, focusing on long-form projects marrying in-depth reportage, document sleuthing, and narrative appeal, and as an alternative-weekly editor, a correspondent for US and European publications in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations, an AP stringer, corporate trainer, translator, sausage slinger and fishing-line packager. She lives in Oakland.

Attack of the 50-Foot Palin

| Mon Oct. 25, 2010 5:00 AM EDT

It's not that there aren't enough clues on the cover of the new issue of Mother Jones—the headline, for one—but since you asked: Yes, that is a full-throated homage to the B movie classic Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. If you're like us, your knowledge of American cinema doesn't extend to the full plot of this 1958 gem, but suffice to say that it involves a wealthy heiress, Nancy Archer, who after an encounter with an alien is found on the roof of her pool house and soon grows into a giantess. She goes searching for her no-good husband and his mistress, Honey Parker (!), and mayhem ensues. We liked the image because of the subtle historical echoes and... oh, who are we kidding: We liked it because the poster is awesome. WikimediaWikimedia(The echoes, though, are there: 1958 was an election year, in a recession, that dealt President Eisenhower's party a big string of defeats and launched the Senate careers of, among others, Gene McCarthy, Robert Byrd, and Edmund Muskie.) 

MoJo's creative director Tim Luddy encouraged illustrator Zina Saunders to follow the poster out the window in tone and feel, tweaking only the landscape to look more suburban. Saunders (who has cranked out a number of terrific Palin illustrations in the last couple of years) took the assignment very seriously, at one point sending a picture of Palin in her beauty-contestant days to confirm that she'd gotten the proportions right. She also made an animated version. Behold (this might take a sec to load):

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MoJo Writer Imprisoned in Iran: 365 Days is Too Long

| Sun Aug. 1, 2010 3:04 AM EDT

As we enjoy a summer weekend with friends and family, it bears remembering that, for the families and friends of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal, this weekend marks a milestone of misery: As of Saturday, it had been exactly one year since the three were arrested while hiking in the scenic border region between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. Theories differ on exactly how the arrest took place: the three may have accidentally crossed the border, or they may have been snatched while inside Iraq. (Their traveling companion, Shon Meckfessel, who stayed behind that day because he had a cold, sent us a wrenching account of the last call he got from his friends.) 

This much is for sure: They were not spies for the United States, as Iran has alleged (so far without pursuing the charge in its own courts). Bauer is a talented, muckraking journalist whose most recent story for Mother Jones looked at how the US government was using construction and other contracts to pay off corrupt ex-warlords in Iraq. (He also worked with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and New America Media.) Shourd--who became engaged to Bauer while in prison in Iran--was teaching English to Iraqi kids in Damascus, where she lived with Bauer prior to their arrest. Fattal had worked at a sustainability center in Oregon and taught overseas. All of them have been held in near-isolation (Shourd is being held by herself, while the two men share a cell), without access to the Iranian lawyer their family has hired to them or the rest of the outside world. Their only contact with their families came in May, when the mothers were allowed to visit; both Shourd and Bauer have reportedly struggled with illness while in prison.

It's no surprise that the three are being used as pawns by the Iranian government—that's a trick just about every country has used. But a year is enough, especially for three people who have committed no offense except being insufficiently paranoid in exploring a tourist region world-renowned for its beauty. Nothing good can come from their languishing behind bars, whereas once released, they would likely go back to their work for truth and human rights. We hope that day comes soon.

There are vigils and protests throughout this weekend seeking the hikers' release; you can follow the Free the Hikers campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Even President Obama has weighed in. Read his statement after the jump.

Someone Pinch Us: MoJo Wins Another "Magazine Oscar"

| Fri Apr. 23, 2010 7:45 PM EDT

24 hours later, our heads are still spinning from the National Magazine Awards gala last night. MoJo has been nominated in the General Excellence category each year for the past three; we won in 2008 and again this year. That's an amazing honor that belongs to everyone here—from the CEO, publisher, and board of directors all the way to our fearless interns. But it also belongs to you, our readers, who sustain this operation in a way that really unprecedented in the publishing industry. Some of you help by spreading the word about MoJo on Facebook and Twitter; many of you subscribe, and tens of thousands of you also donate. To know that our readers value the kind of fiercely independent journalism—"tough and tenacious," the magazine award judges called it—is the thing that's kept us going through a pretty rough time for media. (Okay, that and the hot chocolate mix in the kitchen.) So please consider this Ellie your own. Just be careful when you set it on the mantle. Those pointy things are sharp.

P.S. Big congratulations to our fellow Gen Ex nominees—Foreign Policy, Garden & Gun, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Paste—as well as all the nominees and winners, and a special shout-out to the other San Francisco mags whose wins made it a big Bay night at the NMAs: McSweeney's, San Francisco Magazine, and Wired. You all rock.

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