Many of you may have noticed the not-so-cryptic ads running in the past two issues calling attention to the date, April, 3, 2014. As most have guessed by now, that’s the date we’ve picked to officially become a weekly newspaper.

By the time 4/3/14 gets here Lagniappe will have been a bi-weekly newspaper for nearly a dozen years, so doubling down is a momentous occasion for us, as well as a monumental task.

It has been a goal for us to become a weekly publication since Ashley and I printed the first 5,000 Lagniappes with a very topical cover story on Botox. (What?) But survival has always taken precedent over going weekly.

Things have changed — obviously — in the print media business over the past 11-plus years. That’s particularly true for the Mobile market. As we’re one of the markets that was served by a daily newspaper owned by Newhouse, we’re also one of the larger cities around the country that no longer has a daily newspaper.

For us this presents both opportunities and responsibilities. We know digital will be a large part of what every media outlet does as we move forward, and we hope you have checked out our new and much improved website. But by the same token, we also know print is not dead yet. Not by a long shot.

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Just last year we did a survey of about 2,000 readers and advertisers and just about 90 percent said they still wanted a printed newspaper. And if you look around the country, it’s pretty obvious few publications have figured out exactly how to make web-only financially viable in a way that will allow them to continue providing the amount and quality of news they did before the great cataclysm of recent years.

So we’ve decided to “go weekly” in order to provide both readers and advertisers with a more consistent news source. Of course that’s a leap of faith on our part that readers and advertisers want twice as much Lagniappe and are willing to support it with their eyeballs and advertising dollars. But our rapid growth over the past year has us feeling confident that support will be there.

How will a weekly Lagniappe differ from the current bi-weekly version? We’re not completely certain yet, but the one thing we’re determined not to let change is that every issue will be filled with quality, locally produced content. We are not looking to water things down because we’re producing twice as much.

Obviously this will bring some changes (I didn’t say exciting changes!) over time. We hope the biggest change will be more timely coverage of news events and an ability to deal with a wider range of subjects.

We believe this area wants and needs a weekly newspaper, and judging from the number of people who have asked us to go weekly over the past year, most readers do too. A big part of being a newspaper is serving the community and that service is a major part of this decision.

We hope taking Lagniappe weekly excites our readers and also those potential advertisers out there who may have been on the fence with us in the past. Make some room for us in your 2014 budgets, and you’ll reach the area’s most devoted readership and also support a newspaper that takes reporting the truth seriously, and help give your city a more regular news source.

As always, thank to all of you who have helped us get this far. We’re going to continue to do our best to be the best we can for the Mobile area.

Brehse heads to south Florida for PR job

WPMI reporter and anchor Tami Brehse has left the station to take a public relations position with a firm in south Florida.

Brehse joined WPMI in October 2011 and is a graduate of the University of Florida. She also was born and raised in Port Charlotte, Fla. She announced her departure on social media, but did not reveal exactly where she was going.

Brehse was most recently an anchor on WPMI’s morning show, but was recently moved back to reporting when new anchor Kelly Jones arrived.

Bob Cashen out at WALA

After nine years, WALA is looking for a news director as Bob Cashen has taken a position with WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Va.

WALA would not comment on the move, but WSET announced Cashen’s hiring earlier this month. The station is an ABC affiliate and is currently owned by Albritton, but is being sold to Sinclair.

Cashen has previously served as news director at WAVY in Norfolk, Va. And at KSLA in Shreveport, La. He started his new job Oct. 14.
“Bob is probably the most highly recommended employee that I have ever hired,” said Randy Smith, WSET’s general manager in a statement. “Every person that I spoke with placed him at the very top of anyone that they had ever worked with. I repeatedly heard the comment, ‘If I had an opening, Bob would be the first person I would call.’”

WALA’s General Manager Gary Yoder is currently pulling duty as the station’s news director while a replacement is sought.