We’ve been churning these newspapers out for close to 17 years now, and for nearly that long people in Baldwin have been asking us to provide more news from their side of the big pond.

Starting soon, Baldwin residents will be getting what they asked for. We aim to launch Lagniappe’s Baldwin Edition by early March at the latest with an eye toward providing the same kind of hard-hitting investigative reporting that’s helped this newspaper become the state’s largest weekly.

During the past few years we’ve made strides in improving Baldwin County coverage, but we haven’t had the ability to go “all-in.” Now, with an office and full-time staff in Daphne, we intend to give Baldwin residents a better option for news coverage.

Gabe Tynes, who has served as assistant managing editor for several years now, will take on the job of Baldwin County bureau chief. In addition to being a fine reporter and editor, Gabe is also a Fairhope native, so he brings a lot of local knowledge to his new position.

For the last couple of years he and freelance reporter John Mullen have covered Baldwin. Now they’ll have more room to run each week.

This new edition will have many new elements, but also keep the favorites. Readers on both sides of the bay will still get the same cuisine, arts, business, film and horoscopes that already address both counties, but the news section will be significantly remade each week to feature primarily Baldwin-oriented stories. Advertising will continue to appear in both versions of the paper, so advertisers can still reach all 77,000 weekly readers. Lagniappe already distributes roughly 6,000 papers each week in Baldwin, and this is meant to enhance them.

I know what you’re thinking — “This sounds like a lot more work.” Yes, it will be, but we believe it will be better for the Baldwin County communities to have more focus from Lagniappe, and that we need to join the other fine publications there in shining the light a little brighter on the community. We hope to start strong and continue to add as things progress.

To help increase visibility and circulation, we’ll also be adding 20 more gorgeous purple newspaper boxes and looking to find more businesses eager to serve as Lagniappe distribution points.

The bottom line is we’re trying to give Baldwin Countians more reasons to consider Lagniappe their newspaper too. When we started Lagniappe in 2002, our philosophy was that providing quality local writing would attract readers and advertisers. That philosophy hasn’t changed.

Baldwin County is the state’s fastest growing and there are so many stories and issues crying out for attention. We will do our best to get to as many of them as we can with our small staff, and we promise to grow that staff and cover even more as support grows.

So keep an eye on the newsstands. Something extra for Baldwin is on the way.