April 1, 2011

Big News: Waylon sells Elephant to NY Times; will stay on for the time being.

Big news: I’m so excited! Elephant Journal is honored to have partnered with NY Times, following in footsteps of The Athletic. I’ll stay on for a year.

After 21 years, it’s time to join my countless friends who have sold out to The Man, and rake in some of that sweet cash. Honestly! I deserve it for all my hard work! Independent media in the age of IG, when folks don’t want to read articles, just scroll, scroll, scroll…is hard! 

~ Waylon H. Lewis

Finally, my big pay-off for all my work. It was just a question of when to sell out, like so many of my other friends have done successfully over the years. Well, when is now. After nearly 21 years, it’s time to partner with a bigger journalism outfit who can bring Elephant’s message to many millions more. Plus, the $$$!

waylon lewis elephant journal

Huge: with some regrets and much anticipation and excitement, Elephant sells to N.Y. Times, which I’ve always respected not only for their journalistic integrity and innovation in the new media space. Following in the footsteps of The Athletic, acquired by the Times last year, Elephant will fill out the “mindfulness/healthy living/personal stories” space for the venerable Times.

The sale price, $85 million, reflects Elephant’s nearly-21 years as a leading online mindfulness community in the world, as well as our longtime journalistic standards that make our editorial and stories an easy if unique fit for the Times’ existing offerings.

I will continue to serve as editor-in-chief for at least a year. ~ Waylon


Big news: Elephant is currently on offer to the investors behind Substack, in partnership with Clubhouse, and is in talks with Buzzfeed/Huff Post and Pinterest. We’ll see where this goes! It’s been a good run. 

Elephant to partner with Medium to create new Big-Tech-funded mindful media Empire.

Last summer, Elephant turned 20. I can’t believe it. And it’s finally time for me to take on my next role.

20 years ago, I was a broke, idealistic, ambitious, inspired young man who wanted to make a national eco-minded magazine. Little did I know I’d be broke for most of those years, and that we’d go on to great success first as a national magazine, then as a web site that’s reached 23 million readers—a month.

That said, I’m 48, now, and I’m getting engaged (and that’s not all), and with Elephant finally successful, it’s time to move on to my next chapter.

Elephant Journal acquired for millions—thanks to you.

Big news! With thanks to you all! It’s been a good run.

Elephant to merge with Buzzfeed, Huff Post: after a long week of talks that ended in a low-level “bidding war,”  Elephant has agreed to end its run as an indie media site.

With a sale price reported at $49 million—a valuation based on Elephant’s incredible readership, remarkable monetization and stable, inspired staff—Waylon Lewis, founder, is set to

“take an overdue breather on a beach somewhere. Down the line, I hope to run for political office. That said, I have mixed feelings about this partnership—I’d hoped to remain independent and increase our quality and further our mission, to be of benefit to a wonderful but confused world in need.”

Billing itself as the world’s largest mindfulness web site, with a readership nearly equal to that of Huffington Post just five years ago, (when it sold to AOL for $84 million), Elephant will use its newfound stability and resources to bring further value to its readers.

Note: I’ve asked for a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if Elephant reaches 380,000 free newsletter subscribers (we’re at 345,000, now) by April 10th, I have the right to cancel our agreement with Alo/Wanderlust and continue to grow Elephant’s mindful, independent journalism.

Subscribe to our newsletter, free, here if so inspired—ask your friends to do so? Go, community!

If Elephant comes close but fails, Huff Post will be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win for Buzzfeed.

Arianna Huffington : “we needed juicing and smoothies, so I acquired MindBodyGreen. But I also wanted woman-authored lascivious sex and top 10 relationship articles—so we went to the ‘mindfulness’ experts over at Elephant.”

Elephant Founder Waylon Lewis explains his final meeting with Arianna:

C’mon. April Fool’s! We’re all about indie media. Big money doesn’t keep us here for you. You keep us here: only elephantjournal.com/subscribe ⁠⁠

…keeps us independent, pays our editors and best writers to do good work for you. Plus, most ads go poof when you subscribe, leaving only our best, and you can read unlimited. ⁠

When a publication is independent, its loyalty is to truth, and readers, and mission—not corporate backers. We need you. No fooling!⁠

Waylon Lewis square headshot

Letter from the founder:

Big News. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. ~ Waylon Lewis

It’s with mixed feelings that I share this news.

Last June, elephant journal turned 12 years old.

In 2002 we started off as a little, local yoga magazine (Yoga in the Rockies), went regional, then national, where elephant magazine sold in Whole Foods, pharmacies, bookstores etc. for $4.99. But though we were printed on eco paper (New Leaf, generally) distributing a magazine nationally is eco-inefficient—your average magazine sells maybe 3 out of 10 copies. And so, 2.5 years ago, I resolved to start all over again, taking elephant online 100%. It’s been a tough ride: I lost my colleagues, my office, my house went into foreclosure…and I got old fast. But it’s been an adventure, I’ve learned a lot, and elephant has grown steadily—now to 17.7 million readers a month, and growing more every a month. We’ve been voted #1 #green on twitter twice, and have a Facebook presence more popular than some news orgs with 100x our staff.

But all things come to an end—or should I say, things change. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. I’ve decided to partner with Yoga Journal—whose parent, Active Interest Media, is based in Boulder (so I won’t even have to move). I will continue to head up elephant as it merges with yogajournal.com, and will serve as YJ’s associate web editor and social media consultant. I’ll also do some video for them, for you fans of Walk the Talk Show.

elephant journal yoga journal sell out

I’m selling because, frankly, I’m tired of being broke. I’d like to travel for the first time in my life, continue on my Buddhist path (start by doing a long overdue meditation retreat) and eventually start a family.

Assuming that our readers might be a bit nonplussed, I’ve insisted on a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if elephant reaches 80,000 free newsletter subscribers by April 11th, I have the right to cancel our agreement and continue to nurture elephant’s unique brand of independent, mindful journalism. If we achieve this goal, that will likely mean we’re fully sustainable, and can afford to hire an additional editor to help improve the overall quality of our editorial.

YJ’s generously agreed to this unusual caveat partly because if elephant comes close but fails, they’ll be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win.

The sale price and terms are, by law, public: click here for more information.

With thanks to all of you (especially those able to criticize or argue respectfully)—

Yours in Vision of Enlightened Society,
Happy April Fools’ Day!

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

Connect: Facebook (1000,000 fans) or twitter (100K followers on various channels, named #1 in US for Green in 2010)

You can subscribe to elephant here.


Some real helpfulness, hopefully: The Simple Buddhist Trick to being Happy.

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