MoJo Deadline Today

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News of Mother Jones’ new Washington, D.C., bureau—the first major news bureau to be opened by a U.S. media organization in years—is being noticed by the MSM. Click here for a piece by the Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz.

If you’re just tuning in to this change, we’ve expanded our D.C. bureau from 2 to 7 journalists. Our plan is to dig even deeper into the most important stories from the nation’s capital and to have the results land with more impact in the media and political worlds.

Why this matters plays out virtually every day in the news stories trumpeted the loudest by the mainstream. A case in point is Newsweek‘s current (August 13) cover story—”Global Warming is a Hoax*,” by science correspondent Sharon Begley. It is absolutely an important story, fingering “the well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change” and the special interests that fund them.

That there is a well-funded denial industry won’t, of course, be any shock to Mother Jones readers—MoJo‘s cover story on ExxonMobil’s multimillion-dollar support of the climate change deniers was published in April 2005. A year later, the MJ feature was nominated for a National Magazine Award for public service, and Al Gore plugged it on “Fresh Air” —the story received a lot of attention from people who pay attention. Still, out in mass media land the insidious effects of the denial spin doctors have continued to muddle public understanding of the scientific consensus, thanks in significant measure to the history of big media (like Newsweek) giving credence to the deniers.

Point #1 is obviously that two and a half years is too much lag time between when a big public interest news story is broken and it’s, uh, accepted by the MSM. But point #2 is that we (that is, Mother Jones, other independent media, and you) are in a great position to change that.

So that’s what we’re doing: putting more reporters on the most significant public interest stories and making full use of all of the cheap and powerful new media tools around us to bust the BS. In doing that, we can respond to BS and spin quickly, debunking it before it becomes the conventional wisdom of the MSM.

Here’s who we’re putting on the scent:

• Laura Rozen, who’s covered national security and foreign policy as a senior correspondent for the American Prospect and on her blog, warandpiece.com, as well as in the pages of Mother Jones.

• Stephanie Mencimer, the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door, an investigation into conservative and corporate attempts to limit corporate liability and to restrict people’s access to civil court remedies through “tort reform.”

• Bruce Falconer, who joins Mother Jones after working for several years as a staff editor and writer on international assignments for the Atlantic Monthly.

• And Jonathan Stein, who started at Mother Jones in San Francisco 18 months ago and helped produce the “Lie by Lie” timeline as one of the lead researchers on the project.

Together with Jim Ridgeway and Dan Schulman, they make up a crew of smart, independent journalists who bring years of savvy reporting experience to the job. Get used to seeing their names; they’re already posting online, including on the MoJoBlog and in Washington dispatches. Click to see some entries by Ridgeway and Schulman, Rosen, Falconer, and Stein.

This is an ambitious project for Mother Jones. We need to raise $60,000 in the next few weeks to complete the D.C. bureau. If you value original reporting that makes an impact on politics and media, I hope you’ll make a tax-deductible donation.

It’s also why we’ve pulled together some cool prizes to give you an extra incentive to hit the “donate” button. But time is running out, the deadline for our campaign is midnight tonight, Friday, August 10, 2007 for you to make a gift and be entered to win a super prize.

If you’ve already made a contribution, thank you very much. But if you haven’t, please take a moment now to do so.

Jay Harris
President & Publisher

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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