It seems Yoga Journal has been going through a rather interesting transformation lately. Ever since the new Editor-in-Chief, Carin Gorrell, stepped in from SELF Magazine to take over for Kaitlin Quistgaard last fall, there have been big changes at the bendy lady. For one, they recently moved their longstanding offices from the yoga-friendly hippie town of San Francisco to the yoga-friendly hippie town of Boulder where their parent company, Active Interest Media, is headquartered.
We’ve also heard, from a source within the company, that at least four senior staff members have been laid off in less than three months, including the Creative Director, Deputy Editor, Conference Director, and Executive Online Editor with no sign of replacements lined up, leaving Gorrell with a very junior skeleton staff. (NOTE: The masthead in the latest issue still lists Charli Ornett as Creative Director and Philip Armour as Deputy Editor even though they have been confirmed as let go). This could mean one of two things: they’re looking to restructure the entire magazine and thin out the staff like so many other magazines have already done in the crippled publishing world, or they’re just going to let Lululemon take over the entire media and content feed. Kidding on the last part (but not really).
And perhaps they’re finally focusing even more attention on their online presence. With the announcement of the new EIC, the senior VP of AIM said that the editorial in both the magazine and online will be “refreshed” and that Gorrell will be helping to “meet the needs of the modern yogi, while respecting the great traditions of yoga and Yoga Journal.” What does this mean, exactly? We’ve seen they already have a newish website over at yogajournal.com, but we happened to get a glimpse at their potentially NEW new website which popped up on our radar via trackback link to an old 2010 YD post. (We assume they’re loading old content to test out or to fill in the back catalogue.)
(Side note: When Gorrell first joined the YJ staff we had reached out for an interview. She had responded and was open to answering our questions, but we haven’t heard back from her since January. We know she’s busy, but we’re going to go ahead and post our questions on the bottom of this post as a reminder, and another opportunity to answer.)
What is the new fancy site like? The layout seems better, less cluttered, and more modern with the slideshow navigation thingy on the top. Slick. There’s also a lot more about healthy food and diet stuff as you can see, which we had predicted. A far cry from the humble beginnings of YJ, founded by Judith Hanson Lasater in 1975.
(By the way, we know this isn’t live yet, so this may not be the content for the actual launch, BUT it is the latest content in the latest issue of the magazine.) Click images to enlarge.
Another prediction: get ready for the lists! Potential headlines: 5 foods you should be eating RIGHT NOW, 7 ways you’re screwing up your life by not meditating, 10 benefits of eating kale after arm balances, 9 reasons listicles are ruining your ability to decipher reality.
We can also expect a lot more postings from Lululemon…and Hilaria Baldwin (cover model of the September 2014 issue)…
…and Tara Stiles.
There’s more food stuff, yoga tricks related to food stuff, “essential yoga gear,” “perfect poses” for surfing (we assume), and SUP Yoga. In other words, YJ wants you to know they’re hip with the what the kids are into lately.
There will be more instructional videos as well. From what we can tell it’s also pretty hip and trendy and white and fit, pretty much what you might expect.
We don’t know when the new site will go live, but already we see it will be closely competing with other sites like MindBodyGreen, Mantra Mag, and Well+Good in the healthy living/yoga/fitness/wellness trend space.
Is the Yoga Journal we, as a the larger yoga community, need or asked for? Will YJ be able to take advantage of their popularity and name in the yoga community to cut through the noise and establish themselves as a true and useful resource for yogis of all shapes, sizes, colors and inclinations?
Will Carin Gorrell be able to lead us into the future and shift along with the evolution of American yoga?
Do you like the direction they’re headed in?
PS. Here are our questions for the new Editor in Chief, Carin Gorrell, which we first sent to her in December 2013. Carin, if you’re listening/reading we look forward to your response.
-How long have you been practicing yoga?
-What was the application process like at Yoga Journal? Did you apply or did they seek you out?
-How have you been settling into your new position and surroundings?
-What were some of your proudest moments from your previous career positions?
-What’s your favorite part about the YJ as it is now?
-What are you most excited to add, change or improve as the new Editor In Chief?
-Where do you see the magazine (print and online) heading? What is your vision for the future of YJ?
-There’s been an ongoing discussion about body image in the yoga community, and the need for better representations of real “yoga bodies” in mass media. With YJ being the largest and most well-known yoga magazine, it’s often at the center of the criticism for perpetuating a certain look/body type/age/race/sex of yoga practitioner, often as the Yoga Journal cover model. Do you have any insight or comment on that?
-With a new EIC coming from Self magazine there have been concerns that YJ will start leaning more towards being a fitness & diet magazine. What would you say to those concerned readers?
-Advertising is necessary in the structure of the magazine business, but it can sometimes enter questionable territory. Do you or will you have any supervision over what ads are placed in the magazine? Do you feel that they have any influence over the integrity of the magazine and the brand?
-In the press release announcing your arrival as new EIC, it was said by senior VP of AIM that the editorial in both the magazine and online will be “refreshed” and that you will be helping to “meet the needs of the modern yogi, while respecting the great traditions of yoga and Yoga Journal.” Can you share what you think that means today and maybe a few examples of how you might help bridge the modern and the traditional in this next generation of the magazine?
-What do you see is Yoga Journal’s role and purpose in yoga culture as it expands and evolves?
-Do you have a favorite yoga pose?
-Have you practiced yoga in the office yet?
We hope to hear from you soon.
- New Yoga Journal Editor-in-Chief is a ‘Fitness Junkie’ from SELF Magazine
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