Pardon Our Humblebragging

So many honors, so little shelf space.


Ah, editor’s notes. They generally fall into three categories. There’s the sort that we usually pen, where the editors feel moved to mock or inveigh about some current buffoonery or outrage. Then there’s the “here’s what’s in the issue” variety—we did that for a time, but it’s not like our table of contents is buried amid 50 pages of perfume ads.

Finally, there’s the kind that should very, very rarely be deployed: the humblebrag. That’s a Twitter term for remarking on how tough your life is as a result of whatever good fortune has come your way. “Think I just turned down interviewing Ben Affleck in person because I’ll be busy interviewing Joseph Gordon-Levitt in person. #lifeisweird.” “Why does the mercedes dealership always have fresh baked hot cookies?! Don’t they understand how mean that is?” “It’s funny how Coach people stream through First Class hoping to see someone famous. I feel disappointed in myself on their behalf.”

From the Izzy, named for I.F. Stone (top left) to the National Magazine Award (bottom right), MoJo has had a lot to celebrate.

Or, you know, “enough with the awards. Can’t take any more champagne before noon.” The MoJo staff’s choice of celebratory libations runs more to suds than bubbly, but aw shucks, this year has given us a record number of reasons to raise a toast. We’ve been nominated for no fewer than 37 top industry awards and, with a few juries still out, we’ve won 16, including the George Polk Award, previously bestowed on such nobodies as Edward R. Murrow and Joan Didion; a National Magazine Award; a Society of Professional Journalists award for our gun coverage; and public-service honors named for labor leader Sidney Hillman and legendary muckraker I.F. Stone. We’ve gotten shout-outs for everything from first-person narratives and in-depth data dives to interactive maps and games. Not to mention a spate of accolades for design, photography, and illustration, all produced on an art budget that would barely cover the cost of, er, refreshments at a Kate Moss photo shoot.

But what Mother Jones lacks in accessory closets, we make up for in spunk. Our West Coast vantage point helped us jump early on trends that turned out to transform the media industry, from launching a website back when Usenet was state of the art to retooling our product for the 24-hour news cycle and the social-media universe. We’ve been lucky to attract a terrifyingly talented staff of reporters and editors, as well as a business crew so sharp its consulting services are in demand across the industry. We’ve survived political shifts, technology upheavals, and a few highly dubious merchandising efforts (hello, MoJo high-tops!), clawing our way to 1.5 million unique visitors per week—a sevenfold increase in traffic over the past three years.

The 47 percent story that put MoJo on the map for a whole new audience last fall was the kind of scoop every journalist lives for, but it didn’t come out of nowhere: We got that video because of David Corn’s hard, patient work digging into Mitt Romney’s past at Bain Capital—and beyond that, because of the investigating, authenticating, and verifying that our reporters and fact-checkers do every day to make sure MoJo‘s reporting is unimpeachable.

Yeah, yeah, we’re intrepid geniuses. Or maybe there’s another secret: you. Readers have sustained MoJo since its inception in a dingy office above a McDonald’s on San Francisco’s Market Street 37 years ago. Back then, nonpro?t journalism was an oddity; today, our peers at bigger, better-financed (but no longer so profitable) outlets quiz us about what has become the hottest trend in the future-of-journalism debate. They gasp when we tell them that you, dear readers, show your love for MoJo not just via your subscriptions, but by giving what you can beyond that; that your participation on this front beats that of public radio listeners, by far; and that this foundation of unflinching support is what has given us the seed capital to survive, thrive, and expand at a time when watchdog journalism is more necessary than ever.

Take a bow: These awards belong to you.

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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