April 7, 2012

elephant featured on cover of The Denver Post Lifestyle section: re solving the transition from print to new media.

Waylon Lewis & elephant’s Transition from Print to Online Featured on Front Page of Denver Post Living section.

“Buddhist Waylon Lewis contemplates his walk, and his elephantjournal.com at Boulder’s Trident Booksellers and Cafe.”

Douglas Brown of The Denver Post sat down with Waylon last week to discuss, among many other things, Waylon’s fears, travels and of course, his Buddhist upbringing:


On Fears:

“There was a time last year, 4½ years after transitioning to online, that I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it, in terms of paying the bills and being able to hire an editorial staff. I wasn’t sure how we were going to monetize online, and I think the thing that scared me was I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, and for me Elephant is an expression of my desire to be a benefit, to contribute in a meaningful way to the world. I wasn’t sure if the 9½ years of my life that had been poured into this could have all been for nothing.”

On Achievements:

“Thus far, [my greatest achievement was] how to monetize new media. Quality independent and corporate media has fallen apart in the last 10 to 15 years. I think finding a way to get readers to pay for content online, which will as it ramps up let us and others to pay writers for quality, original, good old-fashioned reporting, is essential to a functioning democracy.
About 70 percent of our revenue is paying customers. Advertising dollars are few and far between. Every year we hear this is the year real advertising is moving online, but it’s not enough to pay writers. I had a joke of a business the past four years and we found a way to monetize our readership (they pay $2 a month for full access) and to do that without pissing them off. Our traffic is growing by about 30 percent a month.

  $108 for a lifetime membership—if you live another 50 years that’s just $2/year 🙂

That’s why I feel so good these days. It’s the first time in nearly 10 years that I’m not wondering whether my debit card will get rejected at the grocery store. So that feels good.”

On Happiness:

“Buddhists say human beings are fundamentally good, and that we don’t need to be happy based on possessions, on being in love, on things that are occurring. All of that is like the weather. It just happens. The happiest moments are the simplest moments, when you aren’t texting, when you aren’t doing five things at once. You relax, have a beer or coffee, you are reading an article on your deck. They happen in the gaps between busy-ness.

You can’t predict them. They sneak up on you.”

For more (another photo & the rest of the interview), read the full article at The Denver Post, and give ’em a comment if you want to support elephant!

Kate Bartolotta

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