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, has announced a new initiative aimed at helping to keep the newspaper free to its readers as well as hopefully putting more journalists to work covering the Magic City.

Weld started roughly five and a half years ago, and much like Lagniappe has seen its role grow from alternative weekly to mainstream news source as The Birmingham News cut publication to just three days a week. But like almost any newspaper these days, attracting the advertising necessary to support coverage of a city and its region hasn’t been easy.

So, recently the publication, now formally rebranded as Weld: Birmingham’s Newspaper, announced a crowdfunding effort called Fourth Check that management hopes will provide the revenue needed to support its public service journalism.

“A core tenet of Weld’s mission is to keep our newspaper free of monetary barriers,” Weld’s co-owner Heather Milam Nikolich said in a press release. “It is very important that our readers have access to the news that affects them. The Fourth Check provides the opportunity for the community to contribute to their local newspaper, allowing Weld to hire more journalists, print more newspapers and expand distribution.”

The notion of crowdfunding newspapers is not a new or unpopular one in today’s journalistic landscape. Many free distribution newspapers rely on some form of crowdfunding to pay at least part of the bills. Lagniappe’s own Friends With Benefits campaign, started a few years ago, was a crowdfunding effort of sorts. It gave way to offering actual subscriptions and mailed home delivery as a way for readers to help support our local journalism, as well as offering them a level of convenience.

The success of crowdfunding varies from city to city and publication to publication. Some publications, such as New Orleans’ digital investigative newspaper The Lens, have found it tough sledding despite producing high-quality work.

Regardless of whether it is through crowdfunding or subscriptions, as cities have been left in the lurch by conglomerate-owned dailies being folded up or drastically scaled back, the former alternative newspapers trying to fill the news void are increasingly looking to readers who value having a quality newspaper to help share the cost of producing one.

iHeart heroes
The Grounds announced a partnership with iHeartRadio Gulf Coast for the 63rd annual Greater Gulf State Fair this fall that is intended to support local heroes.

The partnership, “Heroes Among Us,” is aimed at recognizing local heroes. It dovetails with the fair’s overall theme, “Calling All Heroes: From Everyday Heroes to Superheroes.”

The fair will take place at The Grounds Oct. 27 through Nov. 5.