We have implemented some rather momentous changes in the last couple of weeks, so I thought it would be a good time to pen one of those hokey “Letter from the Editor” deal-ios. We usually don’t do these because do people ever really read them or do they just go straight to the meat and potatoes of the paper? I think the latter.
But since the changes we have made of late have been rather significant, I thought a little more explanation was warranted.
So here goes – enjoy!
You down with the LB? Yeah, you know me
The first issue of Lagniappe Baldwin hit the streets last week from Bay Minette to Bon Secour and all other BaCo places in between. Our Baldwin County office in the Nichols Center in Daphne is up and running under the leadership of longtime Lagniappe Managing Editor Gabriel Tynes, who is now serving as the Baldwin Bureau Chief. We haven’t all started calling him Chief yet but certainly that’s coming.
Chief Gabe will be running the show, but he’ll also be out on the streets covering the stories that are important to the citizens of the state’s fastest-growing county, as will freelancer John Mullen, who will be contributing even more to our Baldwin news section, including this week’s great LB cover story on the challenges business owners in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach face with staffing, considering the seasonal nature of their locations.
We decided to start Lagniappe Baldwin because we felt there were tremendous amounts of stories to cover, and they really weren’t getting the attention they deserved. And we were looking at ourselves in the mirror too. So we decided to go all in.
And now, each week Baldwin County will get a different cover story and news section dedicated to them, while both sides of the bay will get the same cuisine, business, film, sports and arts and entertainment coverage that we all care about.
And our advertisers will still get their ads in all 30,000 issues on both sides of the bay, with the added bonus of knowing content is geographically tailored to our readers, which translates to even more eyes on our issues and, in turn, their ads!
If you have a great story for Gabe, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also appreciate a good anonymous tip typed up on generic white paper with no return address on the envelope. Bonus points if you cut letters and words out of old magazines, “ransom note style.” Or just a normal signed letter (or email) with a good story idea works too. Either way, they can be sent to: 28740 U.S. Highway 98, Suite 11 Daphne, AL 36526.
We look forward to serving you Baldwin!
We did build that wall! (Let me tell you why)
It seems like there has been a lot of talk about building walls lately. We have been talking about it quite a bit here at Lagniappe World HQ too. And after much contemplation and deliberation, we decided to build one. Obviously, not one at the southern border, (fight amongst yourselves on that one), but we did install a paywall on our website.
If you prefer getting your daily or weekly dose of Lagniappe on your computer or cell phone, by now, you have certainly encountered the new paywall we put on www.lagniappemobile.com.
While all 30,000 print issues delivered to more than 1,500 locations in Mobile and Baldwin counties are still absolutely free to pick up and enjoy (or line your birdcage and/or dog kennels with – so absorbent!), we are asking readers who want the added convenience of reading content online only to chip in $1.50 per week (21 cents a day) to help us cover the cost of maintaining what is essentially a daily newspaper on our website, which is not cheap.
I know some of you, our dear readers, are like, “WTF is this noise all about? I thought your business model was advertising dollars allow for your content to be free for me?”
Again, for the print version that is still absolutely the case. The majority of our revenue still comes from print advertisers, and they get a great value, because according to our latest Nielsen research, we have over 80,000 readers who put their eyeballs on our articles and their ads every single week. And as previously mentioned, with the new Baldwin version, we only expect that to increase.
But the web, oh the web, that is an entirely different beast. Facebook and Google have taken over the vast, vast majority of advertising from all other media websites, and it’s never coming back. Most of the digital ads you see on our website are value-added for our long-term print customers.
But people still want a robust local news website updated multiple times daily. And that is expensive and labor intensive. And the digital ads just aren’t paying for it. They never really did.
Newspapers across the country have finally realized it was really dumb to ever give content away in the first place and condition readers to expect this. And most have already moved to a paywall or will be very soon. Think about this, did anyone ever blink twice to put a quarter or 50 cents in a newspaper box to get their daily paper back in the pre-Internet days? Nope. And it’s essentially the same thing.
Sure, we could just sit here and repost press releases and event calendar stuff and submitted content of the county’s largest sweet potato and let you have it free all day long. But if you want well-researched, well-sourced, pertinent, evocative stories to consume, we have to pay professional journalists to produce those and people to run the site.
It’s just the way it is.
So, this will help us continue to provide the coverage you want and expect, and we are very hopeful it will give us even more opportunities to hire reporters and provide you with even more content eventually. I can’t tell you how many great stories we have on the back burner right now that we just can’t even get to. We want to get that yummy stuff on your plates. And like I said, it’s only 21 cents a day. Most people wouldn’t even bend over to pick that up off the ground. And for only $2 a week, you can get unlimited online access AND the print version delivered to your house via the USPS. Pretty darn good deal, in our opinion.
The response in the first week alone tells us most of you do indeed get this. And we greatly, greatly appreciate your support.
We realize this will upset some folks — (we’ve of course had some groaning too) — and we may lose a few online readers for a bit, but our aim is to continue to produce such compelling content, you just won’t be able to not subscribe.
Did I mention it was just 21 cents a day?
Sincerely, Ashley Trice
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