Mother Jones is a bimonthly magazine focused on national politics, environmental issues, corporate wrongdoing, human rights, and political influence in all spheres. Founded in 1976, Mother Jones is based in San Francisco with bureaus in New York and Washington, DC.
The editors say, "We are independent (no corporate owners) and are accountable only to you, our readers. Our mission is to deliver hard-hitting reporting that inspires change and combats 'alternative facts.'"
They don't have their pay rates listed on their site, but previous editions of Writer's Market note they've previously paid up to a dollar per word for columns of 200-800 words and features of 2,000-5,000 words. Rates may have changed.
What They're Looking For
Mother Jones is looking for news stories of national importance as well as "thought-provoking, timely opinion and analysis pieces on important current issues."
The editors say, "Our readership is nationwide, so please, no local issues unless they have national interest or implications. At the same time, anything that has already been covered extensively in the major national media will probably not work for us, unless you have some new unique angle. We will look at cultural essays, but not travel pieces. Save yourself and us time and effort by taking a good look at our site and/or the magazine before you send a query."
Pieces for MotherJones.com can run up to 1,500 words, but they caution they don't tend to pay for online-only pieces. However, magazine pieces can run up to 5,000 words and have at least a two-month lead time, which is something to consider regarding the timeliness of the piece.
How to Submit
Potential writers can query specific editors by checking out their staff page here.
The editors say, "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?"
No other market is as open to the freelance writer as the magazine market. From trade and association publications, to special interest magazines, to regional and national consumer publications, editors are looking for writers who can deliver well-researched, reader-targeted articles on deadline. To make it in this market, you want to learn how to identify a magazine's editorial needs and—most important—how to fill them.