Friday Fundraising and Catblogging – 8 April 2016


April is an important fundraising month here at Mother Jones, and my colleague David Corn—you may remember him as the guy responsible for Valerie Plame and Mitt Romney’s 47 percent snafu—wrote a pitch called “Trump, the Media, and You,” explaining how our model of reader-supported journalism allows MoJo to report on substantive issues (like actual policy proposals and digging into candidates’ pasts!) that are largely missing from this year’s election coverage. Here’s David:

IN A WORLD OF RATINGS AND CLICKS, financially pressed media outlets frequently zero in on the shining objects of the here and now. Merely covering Trump’s outrageous remarks—did you see his latest tweet?!—has become its own beat. Even the best reporting that does happen can become lost in the never-ending flood of blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and stories that appear in increasingly shorter news cycles.

At Mother Jones, we try each day to sort out what to cover—and where to concentrate our reporting in order to make a difference. Yes, we need to follow the daily twists and turns. But we recognize it’s important for journalists to get off the spinning hamster wheel and dig where others do not.

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Hmmm. It kinda sounds like I’m MoJo’s resident hamster. It’s a tough job, but I guess someone has to do it. After all, with me on the hamster wheel, David and the rest of our reporters can focus their work on the in-depth, investigative journalism that might not make us rich in advertising dollars, but that voters and our democratic process desperately need.

If you’re reading this, I’d bet that you like both—coverage of the circus, and smart, probing journalism. They both matter. If you agree, I hope you’ll pitch in a couple bucks during our fundraising drive—and since we’re a nonprofit, your contributions are tax-deductible. You can give by credit card, or PayPal.

Still, hamster though I may be, we all know that Friday afternoon is reserved for cats. And I know what you’re thinking: That pod I bought last week looks lovely and comfy, but it only has room for one cat. What’s up with that?

Pshaw. There is always room for another cat. It’s the magic of cat physics, far more astounding than black holes or quantum mechanics. No matter how many cats you have, somehow you can always squeeze in one more.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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