Mother Jones


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Mother Jones

ISSN: 0362-8841 (Print) and 2169-7396 (Online)1


Purpose, objective, or mission: As a nonprofit news organization, Mother Jones “goes deep on the biggest stories of the moment, from politics and criminal and racial justice to educationclimate change, and food/agriculture.”2

Target audience: Readers who are interested in politics, environmental issues, and social justice. Per their media kit, readers are “educated, affluent, and influential, engaged in the lives of their communities and passionate about how they can serve them.”3

Publisher: The Foundation for National Progress.4

Peer reviewed? No.5

Type: Civilian news magazine.

Medium: Print and online.

Content: Investigative journalism covering politics, the environment, and culture.6

Frequency of publication: Bimonthly.7

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: “Solidly reported, hard-hitting, groundbreaking news stories,” as well as “thought-provoking, timely opinion and analysis pieces on important current issues.”8 They are particularly interested in national politics, environmental issues, corporate wrongdoing, human rights, and political influence in all spheres. No local issues unless they have national interest or implications. They will consider cultural essays, but not travel pieces or “polemical screeds.”9 They suggest reviewing the website or magazine before sending a query.10

Submission and review process: Per their guidelines, “Best bet is to query us by mail, regular or e. Tell us in no more than a few paragraphs what you plan to cover, why it’s important and interesting, and how you will report it. The query should convey your approach, tone, and style, and should answer the following: What are your specific qualifications for writing on this topic? What ins do you have with your sources? If other major stories have been done on this topic, how will yours be different (and better)? Send pitch to query [at]”11

Include a résumé and two or three relevant clips (or the complete URLs, if the clips are online.)12

“Web pieces are generally less than 1,500 words. Because we have staff reporters it is extremely rare that we will pay for a piece whose timeliness or other qualities work for the Web only. Magazine pieces can range up to 5,000 words. There is at least a two-month lead time.”13

Editorial tone: Informational.14

Style guide used: No style guide is mentioned.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Although first-time authors will may a difficult time getting published with Mother Jones, the magazine has a large base of politically conscious readers, which would provide a wonderful stage for any LIS authors who have a very specific library agenda.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: 215,199 paid and verified print subscribers, with 1,300,000 unique monthly visitors to the website. 15

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Published in the United States.16 Per the guidelines, “Our readership is nationwide, so please, no local issues unless they have national interest or implications.”17 Published in English. “Over the last several years, Mother Jones has experienced tremendous growth in readership. Overall, 2012 was our highest traffic year ever with 98 million pageviews and over 30 million unique visitors coming from around the world.”18

Reader characteristics: Per their media kit, 52% are women, 52% over 50 years of age, 82% college educated, 85% voted in the last election, and 97% have purchased non-fiction books in the last year. Their media kits reports 91% of readers have read books in the last year.19 The majority of readers identify as Democrat.20

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Though it is likely there are a number of LIS professionals that read this publication, the primary audience would not be informed about LIS issues.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Authors need to keep in mind the readers of Mother Jones are well educated and expect straightforward, thoughtful writing that broadens their knowledge of the world. Readers care about social issues and will most likely be receptive to stories about libraries and library advocacy.

Last updated: September 12, 2018


Show 20 footnotes

  1.  Mother Jones, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed March 24, 2018,
  2. “What is Mother Jones?,”, accessed September 12, 2018,
  3. “Media Kit,”, accessed October 15, 2016,
  4. What is Mother Jones?
  5. “Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine,”, accessed October 15, 2016,
  6. What is Mother Jones?
  7. “Subscribe to Mother Jones,”, accessed October 15, 2016,
  8. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  9. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  10. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  11. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  12. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  13. Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  14. What is Mother Jones?
  15. Media Kit.”
  16. “Contact Us,”, accessed October 15, 2016,
  17.  “Freelance Writer: Mother Jones Magazine.”
  18. “2012 Annual Report,”, accessed October 15, 2016,
  19. Media Kit.”
  20. Media Kit.”
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