Illustration by Alyssa Etoile.

A beautiful illustration by Alyssa Etoile in celebration of multitudes.

Hello, Rookies!

OH, FANCY SEEING YOU HERE. Perhaps you’ve noticed that our site got a bit of a makeover, à la the finest episodes of any cycle of America’s Next Top Model?! It seemed that Rookie’s four-year anniversary (that’s one whole high school education!) would be a good time to update a few things around here, and we hope you are into it. You might’ve taken a survey a while ago to let us know your thoughts and feels about Rookie’s previous layout, so we give a hearty thank you for the feedback, all of which we have tried to take into account. We want to know how this is looking and feeling to you, so if you have any more feedback, please tell us! Here’s a bit about what’s new.

In addition to an updated look, Rookie will now publish more pieces per day, starting earlier in the day. (That way, you’ll be on your phone during class, and we will have single-handedly dismantled the evil institution that is…education.) Publishing more pieces per day means there’ll be more room for more of your voices, submissions, and new columns.

Since we’ll be able to post about current events with more immediacy, we are retiring Saturday Links. Instead, we’ll use weekends to share with you a weekly Printable: a DIY, poster, or other tangible gem made by an illustrator for you to print out. Some will be meant for you to complete and send back to us, if you’d like, and we’ll publish a gallery of everyone’s at the end of the month!

On that tip, there will be a handful of similar ways to send your stuff to Rookie without necessarily having written a 3000-word essay. We’ll ask for specific submissions on the YOU page each month, and will be updating it all the time, so keep checking back. That page will also tell you everything you need to know about how to submit work more in the 3000-word-essay-zone. We want to see allll of it all of it all of it.

While all diarists used to share one post per week, we’ll now be publishing one visual diary entry paired with a written diary each day, so instead of coming here every Wednesday and being like “Wow, am I staring at my computer or am I literally sitting on the coffee shop couch from Friends with my buddies Mon and Chan??”, you will now get that feeling EVERY DAY. OR ELSE, DAMMIT.

We’ve started to commission original illustrations for our background images instead of using a bunch from around the WWW (World Wide Woman), so there will be a different one every week. This month’s are by Minna Gilligan, who’s been making us look damn good from day one!

We’ll continue to add more new stuff throughout the month, such as this wild party trick where, if you register on the site, you’ll be able to create a profile, so that beyond commenting on posts, you can choose a Rookie sticker for your user profile, save your favorite pieces on the site, and tell us who you are in a bio and/or with links to your blog, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. I can’t wait to watch people become pen pals, in an utterly non-creepy way!

Massive thanks to Mallory Box, Susan Robertson, and Cameron Koczon from Fictive Kin, and to Max Fenton. Another big thanks to the Pitchfork team and Jessica Viscius for their early design help. And: We couldn’t have done this without the help of Mailchimp, who sponsored this redesign. Thank you, too, very very much.

NOW. September’s theme is Multiplicity: containing multitudes, allowing oneself to change, and the feeling that you are showing your classmates someone new when you go back to school after the summer. It’s sort of like you’re redesigning the website of……your life. *Is unsure the joke landed, hesitates to drop the mic, cringes, lets it fall from my hand, winces at the sound of it hitting the floor, scurries away.*