Tavi Launches Magazine with Help from Friends at This American Life and The Awl

Tavi Gevinson’s online magazine for teens, Rookie, launched today. Although it publishes daily, Rookie will have monthly themes to create the cohesiveness of a magazine issue, according to managing editor Emily Condon. This month is “beginnings,” appropriately. Rookie may still publish print volumes–a Rookie yearbook, say–but there are no immediate plans, she added.

In addition to the celebrities reportedly involved (Miranda July, Winnie Holzman, Joss Whedon, Jack Black, Dan Savage and Fred Armisen), Ms. Gevinson actually hired contributors from the open call for submissions she posted on her blog almost a year ago. She received thousands of applications, according to Ms. Condon.

Following through on that promise is move that might have been harder to pull off at xoJane.com, where Ms. Gevinson was originally planning on publishing her teen-oriented content. Ms. Gevinson backed out of Sassy editor Jane Pratt’s project at the eleventh hour (sans acrimony, Ms. Condon says) because she wanted to own her own work. xoJane.com is published by the jargon-happy marketers Say Media.

Rookie contributors include many precocious, self-publishing young people like Ms. Gevinson, as well as some pros, including xoJane.com fashion editor Laia Garcia, Girlcrusher Emma Straub, Girls staff writer Lesley Arfin, fashion blogger and Bon Appetit designer Elizabeth Spiridakis, Daily Intel blogger Joe Coscarelli and novelist Stephanie Kuehnert.

Rookie plans to pay contributors, managing editor Emily Condon told the Observer. New York parent company New York Media will exclusively sell advertisements, but there were no investors covering the overhead.

Friends of Ms. Gevinson are helping out pro bono, including This American Life founder Ira Glass, who performed with Ms. Gevinson at the Sassy magazine tribute, and his wife, Anaheed Alani, who is Rookie features editor. Ms. Condon is a This American Life alumna. (Ms. Gevinson lives in Oak Park, Ill., outside Chicago, where This American Life was produced for many years.) The Awl founders have also served as informal advisers. Tavi Launches Magazine with Help from Friends at This American Life and The Awl