Far too often government officials at various levels seek ways to block the dissemination of public information by members of the press. Often that is most effectively done by creating a negative consequence for those seeking public records. In the case of new rules passed by the Baldwin County Commission last week, the politicians appear to be trying to price reporters out of doing stories. Even though stewardship and dissemination of public records is part of the work conducted by public entities, and even though the Alabama Public Records Law states “Every citizen has a right to inspect and...Read More
Author: Rob Holbert
It’s a balmy winter in Montgomery. Gov. Robert Bentley sits at his large, shiny mahogany desk. Lost in thought, he stares at an empty spot on the desk, thinks of her and sighs. A smile spreads across his face as he sees a coffee mug she gave him when she snuck over late at night to see him before Christmas a couple of weeks earlier. “Luv Guv” is printed on the side of it. “Dang right I’m the Luv Guv!” he whispers. The memory gives him the strength to do what he must for her … for his Bekah....Read More
Just last week, Lagniappe was officially voted in as a member of the Alabama Press Association, joining more than 100 other newspapers serving readers statewide. Although Lagniappe has been eligible for an associate membership, we wanted to wait to join APA once we had been able to obtain the publications class postal permit required by the organization for full membership. One of the benefits of membership in APA hopefully will be working with its leadership to point out erosions of press freedoms within the state and trying to get them rectified. Weld looks to crowdfund Birmingham’s weekly newspaper, Weld,...Read More
As I write this, the manhunt for Billy Boyette Jr. is still in high gear — as is the freaking out over trying to capture this made-for-sweeps-month killer. Boyette became a fugitive last Tuesday when he allegedly shot and killed two women in a motel in Milton, Florida, then went on the run from police. He is believed to have followed that heinous act by killing a woman in Lillian, Alabama, this past Friday and then shooting yet another woman in Beulah, Florida, Monday in order to steal her car. Needless to say, police have been working nonstop to...Read More
Local historian and author Robert Glennon will discuss the effect Fairhope’s founders had on the city’s legacy and other odd facts about the Baldwin County city during one of the first interviews for StoryCorps’ visit to downtown Mobile. Glennon, a Mobile native who now lives in Point Clear, will share how Fairhope’s founding as a single-tax colony created a “liberal epicenter in the middle of the classic South.” The economic and social experiment in 1894 would help attract artists to the area for generations, Glennon said. “The free thinking led to the creative types, the writers and artists,” he...Read More
About The Author
Rob Holbert is co-publisher and managing editor of Lagniappe, Mobile’s independent newspaper. Rob helped found the newspaper after a career that started as a police reporter and columnist at the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula. He followed that with a stint as a deputy press secretary for then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in Washington, D.C. After leaving Capitol Hill, Rob worked ghost-writing opinion articles for publication in some of the nation’s largest newspapers. From 1999 through Aug. 2010 he was the faculty adviser for the University of South Alabama student newspaper, The Vanguard, and in 2002 started Lagniappe with his business partner Ashley Trice. The paper now prints 30,000 copies every two weeks and is distributed around Mobile and the Eastern Shore. According to Scarborough Research, Lagniappe now has more than 80,000 readers each week, with close to a quarter of that coming online. The paper began publishing weekly at the beginning of April 2014.