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Mother Jones is a nonprofit, liberal, bimonthly magazine that specializes in investigative reporting.

Mother Jones was founded in 1976 and is based in San Francisco. In 2008, the magazine opened a Washington bureau with seven staff members. The bureau had a staff of 16 as of 2014, while the entire magazine had a staff of about 80.

Mother Jones is published by the Foundation for National Progress, which exists solely to support the magazine. About half of the magazine’s annual revenue comes from major grants and donations, with the remainder from smaller donations, subscriptions, newsstand sales, and advertising. It has stood out from other nonprofit news outlets for its diversity of revenue sources. In 2012, nearly 39,000 people donated to the magazine. It also sells ads for both the print magazine and website.

Mother Jones’ circulation increased sharply in the early 2000s, though it has dipped slightly during the Obama administration. The magazine says total circulation is 215,000, about three-quarters of which are paid subscriptions.

Mother Jones was among the first magazines to launch a website in 1993. In 2009, the magazine rebuilt its site on the open-source platform Drupal with the intent that readers help it with data mashups and other projects. The redesign also included a commenting system that allows users to tag comments as “solutions” or “results” as a way to highlight civic participation. The magazine was also among the first news organizations to join the data archiving project DocumentCloud.

In 2010, Mother Jones launched The Climate Desk, a collaborative initiative covering climate change, which it spearheaded. The project includes The Atlantic, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Slate, Wired, and PBS’ Need to Know. Mother Jones is also a founding member of the Media Consortium, a group of liberal publications that launched in 2006, also creating an advertising network.

The magazine reported record-breaking web traffic in February 2011, a 420 percent increase from the year before. Mother Jones attributed its growth in part to an expanded focus on explainers, which bring context to big news stories, as well as to rapid growth in social media. Its digital ad sales also rose 97 percent in the first of half of 2011 over the previous year. It doubled its previous record high traffic number in September 2012, when it posted a video of presidential candidate Mitt Romney making controversial comments about American who didn’t pay federal income tax. Its traffic continued to rise to new highs in 2014, thanks to continued work in drawing traffic from social media.

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Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Aug. 12, 2014 / Caroline O'Donovan
Mastering the dark arts: Facebook has been the key to Mother Jones’ growing popularity online — Mother Jones has been around since 1976, but it really put itself on the map, digitally speaking, in September 2012, when David Corn published the now famous video of Mitt Romney talking about nearly half — or 47 perce...
July 22, 2014 / Joseph Lichterman
From Grumpy Cat to Ukraine: How Mashable is expanding beyond gadgets and apps — Within minutes of the first reports that a Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed over eastern Ukraine Thursday, Mashable had live coverage up and running. Its real-time news staff in New York was updating the post with vid...
July 22, 2013 / Justin Ellis
Monday Q&A: Mother Jones’ Steve Katz on that 47% video and turning attention into donations — Nonprofit news outlets rely on their readers to support their work — preferably not just in likes or retweets, but also in dollars. If you follow the path laid out by Mother Jones, all you need is a bombshell story, a ...
Sept. 21, 2012 / Mark Coddington
This Week in Review: Rethinking free speech online, and mixed reviews for USA Today’s redesign — Plus: Ideas for innovation in j-schools, Newsweek's "Muslim Rage" backlash, and the rest of the week's news in media and tech....
Dec. 30, 2011 / Clara Jeffery
Clara Jeffery: What nonprofit news orgs are betting on for 2012 — We’re wrapping up 2011 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring. Next up is Clara Jeffery, co-editor of Mother Jones....

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: August 14, 2014.
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Publish2 is a content-sharing company meant to perform a role similar to traditional syndication networks. Publish2’s first iteration was aimed at helping journalists share content online more easily by aggregating links and posts and creating widgets for news websites. It was similar to social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious, though oriented toward journalists. The…

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