Africa Ho! (And How You Can Help)


I’ve recently embarked on an epic reporting trip. Currently, I’m in The Hague, the Netherlands, where I’m spending the rest of the week at the International Criminal Court, including some quality time with Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Next week, I’m headed to Congo. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I honestly can’t tell you why—not because I’d have to kill you, but because it does involve a lot of other people having been killed. Some tweeters have wondered why MoJo is doing extra fundraising for this trip, and I’m happy to answer that, as the racker-up of the expenses: Keeping me and everyone else involved safe in Congo means having to bring some of the standard local-support staff in with me from the United States, plus extra layers of security for those who will be assisting me who are already on the ground. What I can say now is that this story is violent and fascinating and has implications that reach back to the United States; that it explores much-needed information about global foreign policy; that it should damn well be written but requires a budget that would be green-lighted by only a fool or a magazine that knows it can rely on its readers to support exceptional if not-revenue-generating content. And then there’s another, unrelated story in Uganda, one that will be deep and personal and ultimately, I think, surprising.

Can I quantify “epic” reporting trip? Sure. About $25,000—just for the reporting part. Even employing the highest level of Midwestern resourcefulness and thrift.

Anyway, I’ll be sending lots of updates (as it’s safe to do so) from the road and, of course, producing a couple of features when I get back. And then I guess we can decide whether it costs more to report them, or more not to.

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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