scholars and rogues

Welcome to the new Scholars & Rogues

You’re probably noticing that we’ve painted the place and put up some new drapes. The migration to our new host (actually, our old host – we’ve moved back to WordPress.com where we started in 2007) has been in the works for months. But it’s been a bit of a task, and I’d like to offer massive thanks to Brian Angliss for his work. You know Brian as our resident climate expert, but he’s also our IT guru, and there’s no telling how many hours he’s put in on the move and redesign. Also, many thanks to the rest of the crew – there was plenty of tedious detail work to go around, trust me.

Now, a few comments on the new site and what it means for the reader.

  • New Design: Our old look was a little stale, and this new design strikes us as cleaner and more contemporary. The news/magazine layout also better reflects S&R’s identity as an online journal. Frankly, we were never sure the old design visually or functionally told the whole truth about who we are. And finally, we’re making great use of our new logo (which I absolutely love – many thanks to Laura Manthey Design for helping us nail it).
  • Quicker Access to Content: With our old site’s one-column news hole structure, the top screen only let you see the most recent story or two. Now, between the featured post slider at the top and the top of the two-column news hole below, you’re seeing (depending on your monitor settings) at least six stories. And, as you scroll down, you’re seeing two stories at a time instead of one. The overall effect: a far better at-a-glance take on what’s happening at any given moment.
  • Improved Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Before, there was a lot going on in the sidebars – advertising, promotional widgets and the like – and you may not have really cared about most of it. The new site has stripped all of that away – no more advertising, and the sidebar content is more relevant to the core S&R mission and hopefully to your reasons for visiting.
  • Enhanced Notifications: WordPress makes it easy for you to follow S&R. Click that link at the top of the page and you’ll receive notifications when we post something new.
  • Better Treatment of S&R Honorees: We’ve always honored a “scrogue” in our masthead – someone whose work and career we respect, someone whose story we wanted to share with you. We have moved that to the sidebar now, just below the logo, and unlike in the past, you can click the image to go directly to the story from any page or story on the site. Up first: William Gibson, whom I have called the most important writer of the past 30 years.

Finally, we’ve recently conducted some soul-searching sessions and we concluded that we have drifted away, over the past year or two, from what we think sets us apart from other sites on the Net. For instance, our need to attract eyeballs for our advertisers (which was essential if we going to pay our hosting and maintenance bills) caused us to occasionally lose touch with our commitment to quality over quantity, resulting in content that was sometimes developed because, well, we needed something new up. Also, we had come to over-rely on guest posters, especially where political opinion was concerned. We’re not denigrating those folks – they were talented writers – but that driving S&R message, the site’s defining identity, wasn’t coming from us.

In essence, we had outsourced our mission and had ceded to others the responsibility for speaking in our name.

Since this move frees us from the corrupting need for ad revenue, you won’t be seeing any more of that. Our staff is evolving, as always, and we will use guest content in the right context, but we pledge to our readers that we’re refocusing on the kind of insightful, reflective writing that helped us establish our reputation when we first launched.

We’re excited. You know when you move into a new house and there’s that great evening, when everything is finally put away and you can finally relax and enjoy the place? Yeah, that’s us right now, with our legs kicked up in front of a roaring fire with a pint of premium micro.

We hope you like the new digs as much as we do. If you have any comments, we’d love to hear them.

Categories: scholars and rogues

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