Nieman News

Monika Bauerlein, left, and Clara Jeffery

Monika Bauerlein, left, and Clara Jeffery

In recognition of their enduring support of investigative reporting and independent journalists, Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery of Mother Jones magazine have been awarded the 2019 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. They will receive the medal during a ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on May 1, 2019.

Announcing the award, Florence Graves, chair of the I.F. Stone Medal selection committee said, “Since they became co-editors in 2006, Monika and Clara have done a spectacular job of bringing Mother Jones fully into the digital age and continuing the groundbreaking investigative reporting that the publication has been known for since its launch in 1976 during the post-Watergate era. Against the odds for nonprofit (and increasingly for-profit) publications, they have brilliantly stabilized and expanded the muckraking magazine’s finances—a key to their many editorial successes.”

Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski added: “Monika and Clara are two of the most admired editors in the country and their stewardship of Mother Jones has been inspirational. During challenging times, they have elevated the magazine and its journalism to new levels of excellence, while modeling a cooperative style of management that is unusual in the industry.”

For more than a decade, Bauerlein and Jeffery have written for, edited and led Mother Jones, the 43-year-old San Francisco-based magazine published by the Foundation for National Progress and named for the intrepid activist Mary Harris Jones.

While serving as co-editors from 2006 to 2015, the pair, reinvigorated the storied nonprofit magazine to safeguard and expand its important role as one of investigative journalism’s leading voices. The women are responsible for the magazine’s explosive growth online and in print, and for opening bureaus in Washington, D.C., and New York.

In 2015, Bauerlein became CEO and Jeffery took over as editor-in-chief while continuing to expand the magazine’s print circulation, digital presence and powerful investigative reporting.

In 2017, Mother Jones was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors for finding “new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism.” Since Bauerlein and Jeffery took the magazine’s helm, it additionally won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2008 and again in 2010. And in 2013, Bauerlein and Jeffery were honored with the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Excellence in Editing.

Under their editorial direction, the magazine’s groundbreaking work includes these investigations:

  • In 2018, Mother Jones published a number of exposés on the NRA’s close ties to business executives linked to the Russian government.
  • In 2016, the magazine published “My four months as a private prison guard” by Shane Bauer, an award-winning look deep inside a troubled Louisiana detention center.
  • During the 2012 presidential campaign, the magazine broke major news when it obtained video of Republican candidate Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser disparaging almost half of President Obama’s supporters. In the video that went viral, Romney described 47 percent of Obama’s most reliable voters as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives and who think government should take care of them.
  • In 2007, the magazine established a new standard for interactive data journalism with its innovative Iraq 101, an in-depth look at the Iraq War, including those involved, the timeline, the costs and the aftermath.
  • The magazine has won or been named as a finalist for numerous national journalism awards during Bauerlein and Jeffery’s tenure.

Bauerlein joined Mother Jones in 2000 as aninvestigative editor. Jeffery started as a deputy editor with the magazine in 2002.

Before joining Mother Jones, Bauerlein was the managing editor at the Minneapolis/St. Paul-based alternative weekly City Pages. She also has worked as a stringer for The Associated Press, and as a correspondent for U.S. and European publications in Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations.

Jeffery previously was senior editor at Harper’s magazine. She began her journalism career at the Washington City Paper as a reporter and editor. Her work has been featured in “Best American Science Writing,” “Best American Essays,” “Best American Travel Writing” and “Best American Sports Writing.”

Established in 2008, the I.F Stone Medal honors the life of investigative journalist I.F. Stone and is presented annually to a journalist or journalists whose work captures the spirit of journalistic independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly, published from 1953 to 1971. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

Along with chair Florence Graves, the founding director of The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, the other members of the 2019 I.F. Stone Medal selection committee are: Myra MacPherson, author of the biography “All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone”; Phillip Martin, a senior investigative reporter for WGBH News and a 1998 Nieman Fellow; Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, investigative journalism consultant and former president of the board of directors for the Fund for Investigative Journalism; and Jacqueline E. Sharkey, professor emerita and former director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,600 journalists from 97 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that covers thought leadership in journalism; Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.

For more information about I.F. Stone,