Mother Jones advertises itself as smart, fearless journalism

Of all mothers, Mother Jones advertises itself as "smart, fearless journalism. " If only we all had mothers who looked this deeply through current events. This is a unique journal which holds itself to high standards in both a journalistic and moral sense. As the website says, they look for articles that are "Hard-hitting, investigative reports exposing government cover-ups, corporate malfeasance, scientific myopia, institutional fraud or hypocrisy, etc. " It's a journal that likes to get facts, shocking facts, about what people care about.

The pages of the journal are ridden with ads devoted to the environment and environmentally concerned companies. Even financial investors advertize themselves as "green" investors (pg3). A cigarette company has an entire page add with "Natural" as their larges printed word. Educational institutions also claim add space that contributes to the worldly responsibility saying "change yourself, change the world" (pg 21).

By using the adds in this journal alone, you could help end animal cloning (pg.33), drink organic coffee (pg 32), invest in economically sensitive companies (pg 25), get information about fixing your pet (pg 21), and even discover how to take part in the "green festival" (pg 35).

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All of it is riddled with the underlying message of social responsibility. In the mission statement found on the journals website, it says "the Mother Jones produces revelatory journalism that seeks to inform and inspire a more just and democratic world. " Notice they used the word "world," and not just nation.

Both advertisements and articles aim to sway opinions towards helping to change the world.

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In a single publication, there are articles on global warming, several on current American politics, the possible dangers plastic pose to the environment, oil spills in Brooklyn, education of troubled and disabled students, and the lack of protests on the behalf of today's college students. It's clear that this journal is out to change the world and hold us all accountable for higher moral and ethical standards.

But that begs a question; what kind of standards? It's tricky to lay a claim on whether this journal is liberal or democrat, let alone identify any defining moral statement as it has articles reflecting both sides of the generalized views of those parties. Perhaps this sentence taken from the websites advertising policies page can help explain the confusion; "we're in business to produce great public interest journalism, no strings attached. " Or maybe this one; "Mother Jones respects and values free expression and dissenting voices.

" Sounds very intelligent and fair - idealistic almost - but what's the catch? Well it's clear that a magazine is a business, and like any business you have to sell. Mother Jones does this with shock value. They publish articles about torturing children and one entitled "Gay by Choice? " It also has an article depicting news corporations as bias and even creating "fake news. " Mother Jones tells their readers all about the things they cannot trust, and reasons why from the experts who claim it.

The writers for Mother Jones are experts to say the least. Most of their columns are written by freelancers, but darn good ones. Their cover story "School of Shock" was written by Jennifer Gonnerman after a yearlong investigation. Gary Greenberg is a contributing writer who is also psychotherapist, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker and Best American Science and Nature Writing. It's clear that they editors believe, as their website claims, that they "assume that our readers are sufficiently smart and skeptical.

" Though, when reading the articles it is clear that a degree is not needed to read this journal. Technical terms are not used freely or thoughtlessly. All in all, this journal claims, and lives up to those claims, to be a smart and justifiable journalism. It's a publication that's not a slave to it's advertizers, and respects different viewpoints. I could see favor given to stories with shock value, but the overall theme of the journal, of global responsibility, would not be compromised. A Journal of Interest

In Jennifer Gonnerman's article "School of Shock," she describes the extremely controversial disciplinary actions of the Judge Rotenberg Educational center located in Massachusetts. The center was originally set up for children with such extreme behavioral problems that they could not be a part of a normal classroom. Electric shocks are used on about half of the 234 children within the facility which charges $220,000 a year for each student. These children are diagnosed with sever autism, metal retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or are emotionally disturbed.

By relaying the stories of children who have been through traumatic events in the facility, as well as her own personal experience interviewing them and visiting the school, Gonnerman creates a very emotional piece. After reading it myself, tears nearly ran down my cheek; and I'm a man who rarely tears. Surprisingly, most of the article is factual, with some informative narrative. The voice of Gonnerman is present, as are her thoughts and opinions, but they are not stated outright.

By doing this she lets the reader feel through the facts and experience rather than preach to them. It could be very easy to push such an article in the face of readers with strong visual images, but instead the images are simply those of children sitting or standing, usually with an adult looking over them. There are no images of children being shocked, but there are also no pictures of children misbehaving. In this way, the article is neutral in it's portrayal of the school.

Though I cannot imagine anyone who believes that shocking a child with the voltage described is an ok thing to do, the article voices both sides of the argument. Numerous examples are given of a extreme behavior such as inducing vomiting, biting chunks out of his/her own tongue, setting fires and cutting him/herself. It's a place where any child can go, despite their history or severity of behaviors. In some ways, it sounds like a necessary evil. The writing is clearly seeking to shut the school down, but it does not give a solution for its necessity.

It does not give any alternatives for students or parents. I leave the article wondering how else to handle such violent and disturbed children. A Journal of Freelance Of the articles published in Mother Jones, most of it comes from freelance writers. That doesn't mean, however, that just anyone can write for them. A slew of experts and highly educated, and highly published, writers contribute to this journal. But if you don't want to go and get your doctorate just to be published, here are a few things to think about in order to get published: Subject, Experience, and Tone.

The Subject, first and formost, must be one of large consequence. Either look to meet a large interest with a large number of people, or look for a topic that would shock a large number of people. Also, the topic must be something that can be affected or has subsequent consequences. To sum it up in a few words, it should be a new view on a popular subject. As for your experience with the subject, well years of schooling aren't required to write for Mother Jones, but years of experience might be.

Not only will this journal hold your writing and journalistic talents to a high level, but many people who have written on a subject for the journal have also written a book about it; and it's been published. If you've been published in big name journals like The New Yorker, or Rolling Stone, that might work also. And finally the tone of your writing must be affirmative action. The editors of this magazine seek to change the world with it, so think along the lines of that. Other than a lot of research, aim to persuade readers to take action. Who knows, maybe Mother Jones will change the world some day, and you could be a part of it.

Updated: Feb 22, 2021
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Mother Jones advertises itself as smart, fearless journalism. (2017, Aug 02). Retrieved from

Mother Jones advertises itself as smart, fearless journalism essay
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