Back in our 3rd year as a magazine, Utne Reader called to say we were a finalist as “best new magazine of the year.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 15, 2009
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utne reader independent press awards

Elephant Magazine Coulda Been a Contendah (a Foot in Mouth Memory)

Back in our 3rd year as a magazine, Utne Reader called to say we were finalists as “best new magazine of the year.”

Don’t remember if it was

independent media press award utne2003 or 2004 utne magazine independent award2004.

I told them we weren’t new—we were in our third year. It mighta been our second, I’m not sure.

I said “Ah, we’re just so small you probably hadn’t heard of us before!.” And the nice man whose title involved being a “librarian” said “No, we’re big fans of elephant here at Utne, we all fight over our copy when it comes in. So what’s this about you not being new?”

I proudly explained that we’d been around for nearly three years, or whatever. That I had changed our name from “Yoga in the Rockies” (a forgettable name our writers even forgot, asking “How’s your Yoga Journal?!”) to “Yoga Rockies” (when my initial business partner shoved off for greener pastures, to mix metaphors, I shortened the name…I didn’t want our magazine to be “about yoga,” but rather “about everything yoga people care about, which is anything from family to health to mountain biking and organics and politics…”). And finally, when we were 1.5 years old I changed the name to “elephant.” That’s when Utne Reader thought we’d started.

Mr. Utne Editor sighed, and said, “Oh, okay then, we’ll take elephant out of the running.”

I was standing outside the Trident cafe in downtown Boulder, and it’s a good thing there wasn’t a blunt object around. I wanted to shoot myself. I wanted to say “Oh, nevermind, of course we’re new, you know, it’s a new name, new concept, new ownership…but I sighed, too, and said goodbye to a year’s worth of free press (Utne’s Independent Media Awards were a big deal at the time…they’re less so, now, that Utne is no longer independent—though their parent company is great).

And so, the above recollection is just an excuse to show you this all time classic cinematic moment:

We coulda been a contendah.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “Back in our 3rd year as a magazine, Utne Reader called to say we were a finalist as “best new magazine of the year.””

  1. Next year – in multiple categories!

  2. Great story, Waylon. But of course the film analogy ends right there, because Elephant's best days are still ahead!

    Bob Weisenberg