Mother Jones

Smart, Fearless Journalism

aka Foundation for National Progress, FNP, MoJo, MJ   |   San Francisco, CA   |  http://www.motherjones.com

Mission

Mother Jones is an independent, reader-supported investigative news organization. Honored as Magazine of the Year in 2017, our nonprofit newsroom is dedicated to fact-based, trustworthy reporting, rooted in fairness and justice. We go deep on the most critical issues facing our country: the protection of democracy, the climate crisis, and racial and economic justice. Mother Jones was founded in 1976 with 50+ journalists organized into three newsrooms located in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and New York. We reach more than 9 million people each month via our website, social media, email newsletters, and print magazine. Our growing audience is hungry for the honest, fierce, deep-digging journalism that is our hallmark.

Ruling year info

1975

CEO

Ms. Monika Bauerlein

Main address

P.O. Box 584

San Francisco, CA 94104 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-2282759

NTEE code info

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Printing, Publishing (A33)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since our founding, Mother Jones’ goal has been to produce, in the words of our mission statement, “revelatory journalism that in its power and reach informs and inspires a more just and democratic world.” These words signal an important focus: Our reporting does not exist in a vacuum but seeks to have an impact for democracy and justice through rigorously researched investigations and compelling storytelling in a widely accessible form. In this time of misinformation and fear for our democracy, Mother Jones goes deep to get at important truths. This organization is at the forefront of a movement of independent nonprofit journalism changing the way Americans find and consume investigative reporting. Our team covers everything from the future of our democracy and corruption in the White House to the existential threat of the climate crisis, and the ways corrupt politics endangers the environment. We reach a younger, growing audience hungry for honest, fierce, deep-digging journalism.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program Overview

Mother Jones is an independent newsroom who’s journalism is focused on politics, climate, and racial and economic justice. We reach more than 9 million people each month via our website, social media, videos, podcasts, email newsletters, and print magazine. Our fellowship program is one of the premier training grounds for emerging investigative storytellers. We operate an eclectic schedule of public programming that builds on our editorial priorities.

Population(s) Served

he Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program offers a crash course in investigative journalism. Mother Jones fellows dive deep into every aspect of a national multimedia outfit—how to cover breaking news, how investigations happen, how we ensure accuracy and impact, and how awards are won. Fellows build on their reporting and research experience, working with reporters, editors, and our digital, audio, and art teams to master the inner workings of nonprofit news.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of overall donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Program Overview

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Program Overview

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of periodical subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Program Overview

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total circulation including subscribers and newsstand copies sold.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Over the past decade-plus, Mother Jones has shifted from serving a robust, but niche, group of print readers to seeking out and engaging a broad, diverse audience across multiple channels and platforms. As a result of investments in key digital and social channels, we reach an average of 8 to 10 million users per month.

Mother Jones is also a premier training ground, via a respected fellowship, for emerging investigative journalists who receive professional on-the-ground training in fact-checking, scrupulous reporting, and digital media skills of all kinds. The experience of reporting alongside seasoned investigative journalists launches them into careers that have come to span the entire media ecosystem.

Journalism that reaches people on their preferred platforms, that offers deeply reported, factual and relevant information, with context and intelligence, is a crucial tool to strengthen our democracy. MoJo’s dogged reporting on the Trump campaign’s links to Russia, his coddling of extremist groups, and his unprecedented conflicts of interest elevated these issues into public conversation and prompted other newsrooms to begin digging into them too. Our team has focused on voting rights and voter suppression since 2017, helping establish one of the core priorities of those seeking to defend democracy. And a decade ago, when many in the media retreated from covering the climate emergency, we put together a multi-newsroom coalition to ramp up climate journalism; finally, news organizations everywhere are prioritizing this beat. This has always been a defining feature of Mother Jones: looking over the news horizon to give the world a heads-up about what’s coming our way.

For journalism to have an impact, it’s not enough to “build it and they will come”: Our stories need to get out there beyond the choir of news junkies. At MoJo, everyone works to make sure our stories land with the widest possible audience—through other media, via social platforms, and as videos, podcasts, and data visualizations that expand our reach all over the country, across age, gender, race, and ethnicity. On social media, we find that a significant share of our audience doesn’t follow other news sources. They find something in our reporting that speaks to them when other outlets don’t.

Mother Jones focuses on in-depth coverage of the biggest issues facing our country. We deliver news in a variety of platforms and outlets, always endeavoring to meet our readers where they are:

Our print magazine is published bimonthly, shared on newsstands and to 185,000 subscribers, and showcases a mix of longform and investigative pieces, and shorter form reporting and commentary.

An average of 8 million people visit motherjones.com every month where everything from our weekly digital feature, video storytelling, data visualizations, and daily news is published, seven days a week.

We have a combined 2.8 million followers on our social media channels–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok–where audiences engage with our reporting and reporters, share content, and receive bite-sized news in the form that best suits their needs.

Mother Jones publishes a daily newsletter five days a week to 550,000 subscribers, featuring highlights of the day’s coverage and context for readers to understand the news of the day.

We host a series of live, public events featuring Mother Jones reporters in conversation with experts, politicians, and cultural luminaries that attracted nearly 300,000 views online in 2020.

Mother Jones has one of the deepest and most experienced journalism benches in the business. With 85 staff and fellows organized around our newsrooms in San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York, but located across the country, we have grown from 600,000 readers a decade ago to more than 9 million today. We have transformed ourselves from a print-driven bimonthly to a truly digital-first newsroom–bringing the best in deep, contextual investigative reporting together with a digital-native’s savvy sense of what people are talking and thinking about right now.

The Mother Jones public affairs and audience engagement teams manage a range of projects that aim to broaden the organization’s audience, deepen the relationship with current readers, and demonstrate the nonprofit newsroom’s overall impact. Mother Jones coverage is often cited in Congress, via other national news outlets that build on our reporting, and by organizations doing important policy work on issues including criminal justice, climate change, food and agriculture, and human rights.

We have accomplished all of this thanks to a business model that is powered by reader support: almost two-thirds of our annual budget of $17 million comes from our readers, either as subscriptions or donations (the balance is evenly split between advertising and foundation grants). In fact, we have built one of the largest networks of reader support outside of public broadcasting – more than individual donors.

Combined with additional revenue streams, a nimble advertising operation, and careful budgeting, this hybrid model has enabled us to successfully navigate the disruptive media business, and to thrive and excel in that mission. It also protects Mother Jones from the whims of the market or an unhappy advertiser, and ensures the organization will receive a consistent stream of funding for the long term.

In the midst of what feels like endless election cycles, there are interlocking emergencies—the pandemic, the climate crisis, income inequality—being exploited by purveyors of disinformation and stifling progressive momentum. The threat is enormous, and Mother Jones has crafted our editorial priorities to address the peril that our democracy, our planet, and a just society face.

Protecting Democracy
America is gripped by a massive struggle to determine the fate of democracy. Mother Jones is prioritizing voting rights, disinformation, and extremism to expose the forces trying to prevent fair elections and mislead the public, including corrupt politicians, dark-money groups, social media influencers, and emboldened extremists.
Senior reporter Ari Berman, one of the nation’s premier voting rights journalists, and team relentlessly expose efforts to disenfranchise voters, like undermining a fair census, extreme gerrymandering, or commandeering of local elections boards. Our job is not just to document individual assaults on liberty, but to show how they rely upon, and seek to extend, systemic racism.
Mother Jones is one of the most consistent sources of reporting on the fabulists who populate right-wing media and how social media platforms continue to amplify and weaponize their disinformation. And a team led by Mark Follman—who spearheaded Mother Jones’ decade-long investigation of mass shootings—is tracking the fallout from the Capitol insurrection and documenting how radical antidemocratic ideas and tactics have become mainstream within the GOP.

Climate & Science
The climate crisis is the ultimate intersectional issue—combining our national security interests with the fight for human rights and economic and racial justice. Our climate reporting prioritizes key underreported but high-impact beats and is focused on three core assignments: accountability, solutions and justice.
We cover the political and judicial battles over climate action and the efforts of fossil fuel interests. We also dig into which scientific and policy advances hold the most promise while covering energy transition, food systems, and urban planning, all of which are bound up in racial and economic justice.

Criminal, Gender, & Racial Justice
Mother Jones is known for marquee reporting on policing and incarceration—especially how officers can abuse or kill with impunity, the rights of women in the criminal justice system and private prison profiteers. We’ve reported closely on the ways the pandemic has exacerbated problems, like substandard prison health care, while also pointing to solutions, such as thoughtful decarceration.
We’ll continue a decade-long history exploring the corrosive effects of private prisons on our carceral and immigration systems. We’ll be investigating the racial biases of the child welfare system, the unfair application of justice in sexual assault cases and how communities of color and other grassroots leaders are revolutionizing criminal justice.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Over the past decade-plus, Mother Jones has shifted from serving a robust, but niche, group of print readers to seeking out and engaging a broad, diverse audience across multiple channels and platforms. As a result, we reach an average of 8 to 10 million users per month. We actively seek to get our stories beyond the choir of news junkies. At MoJo, everyone works to make sure our stories land with the widest possible audience—through other media, via social platforms, and as videos, podcasts, and data visualizations that expand our reach all over the country, across age, gender, race, and ethnicity. On social media, we find that a significant share of our audience doesn’t follow other news sources. They find something in our reporting that speaks to them when other outlets don’t.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    As the Covid pandemic changed the way we did much of our work, we proactively reached out to our most dedicated supporters to find out how they wanted to hear from us and how they wanted to interact with us. With a short survey and a number of follow up conversations, we adapted our usual communications to suit the evolving needs of our times, like creating virtual events, increasing email communications, and doing more phone outreach. As the conditions of the pandemic have changed, we’ve kept this conversation going and changed our communication methods accordingly.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We are continually soliciting feedback on our website about our journalism, the platforms on which people engage with our journalism, and what issues our readers are interested in. This feedback then continually informs our decision-making around how we deliver our main products. It means shifts in platforms, readability and accessibility on the website, and better engagement tools to ensure our conversation with them meets their needs and allows us to interact with them on a regular basis.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Mother Jones
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Mother Jones

Board of directors
as of 04/26/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Judy Wise

Sara Frankel

Community Volunteer

Adam Hochschild

Author, UC Berkeley School of Journalism

Harriet Barlow

Blue Mountain Center, HKH Foundation

Jane Butcher

Conventional Wisdom, Ltd.

Richard Melcher

Melcher & Tucker Consultants

Carolyn Mugar

Farm Aid

André Carothers

Rainforest Action Network

Diane Filippi

SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) Urban Design Center

Ken Pelletier

The Old Town School of Folk Music, The Awesome Foundation of Chicago, City Winery Chicago

Linda Gruber

Gruber Family Foundation

Phil Straus

Straus Photography

Stephen Hendrickson

Philanthropist

Judy Wise

Facing History and Ourselves

Bích Ngọc Cao

LA Unified School District

Jackie Mogensen

Mother Jones (Staff Rep)

Vincent Robinson

The 360 Group

Rinku Sen

Writer, Political Strategist

Amanda Silverman

Mother Jones (Staff Rep)

Edgar Villanueva

Author, Philanthropy Leader

Ekow Yankah

Cardozo School of Law Yeshiva University

Angie Jean-Marie

Fait La Force Strategies

Clara Jeffery

Mother Jones (Ex Officio board member)

Steve Katz

Mother Jones (Ex Officio board member)

Madeleine Buckingham

Mother Jones (Ex Officio board member)

Monika Bauerlein

Mother Jones (Ex Officio board member)

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/17/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/17/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.