Mother Jones Writer's Guidelines

Who we are:

Mother Jones, with a circulation of 110,000, is one of the largest progressive publications in the country. The national bimonthly magazine is known for its investigative journalism and exposes, and its coverage of social issues, public affairs, and popular culture. Most of the articles we print are written by freelancers.

What we're looking for:

Hard-hitting, investigative reports exposing government cover-ups, corporate malfeasance, scientific myopia, institutional fraud or hypocrisy, etc.

Thoughtful, provocative articles which challenge the conventional wisdom (on the right or the left) concerning issues of national importance.

Timely, people-oriented stories on issues such as the environment, labor, the media, health care, consumer protection, and cultural trends.

How to query us:

Send us a letter proposing your story idea(s) to Explain what you plan to cover, and how you will proceed with the reporting. The query should convey your approach, tone, and style, and should answer the following: What are your specific qualifications to write on this topic? What "ins" do you have with your sources? Can you provide full documentation so that your story can be fact-checked?

Keep in mind that our lead time is three months and submissions should not be so time-bound that they will appear dated. If we, or another publication, have run a similar story in the last few years, explain how your story will differ.

If you have not contributed to Mother Jones before, please send two or three photocopies of previously published articles along with your query. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please do not query us by phone or fax.


Our current rate for commissioned stories is eighty cents per word. In "Outfront," the department devoted to short unreported (or underreported) news items, stories run 250-500 words. Short features run 1,200-3,000 words, and longer features run 3,000-5,000.

Back issues are $5.00 and can be ordered by sending a note to

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