, Mobile, Ala.'s independent newspaper is bucking industry trends by doubling its publication schedule to once a week after almost a dozen years as a bi-weekly, its publishers announced today.
The April 3 issue launches a new era for the locally owned publication that has served Mobile and Baldwin Counties on Alabama's Gulf Coast since 2002. Co-publisher Ashley Trice said the decision to take the paper weekly at a time when many papers are actually cutting back on publishing frequency has to do with a belief that newspapers focused strongly on local content still have an important place in their cities.
"We have continued growing over the past dozen years — through recessions and the national newspaper downturn — by sticking with our philosophy of carrying content that is exclusively written for Lagniappe about things happening in our area and important to our readers," said co-publisher Ashley Trice.
Trice and co-publisher Rob Holbert started Lagniappe on a shoestring, printing 5,000 copies every two weeks and have since grown it to a 25,000-a-week newspaper with 80,000 print and online readers. Over time Lagniappe has become known for its investigative reporting and hard-hitting opinion pieces.
The Mobile area is one where the daily, the Press-Register, is owned by Newhouse Publishing division Advance Publications. Like other Advance properties around the country, the Press-Register has ceased publishing daily, moving to three times a week and putting most effort into digital publishing. Holbert said this development has also played into Lagniappe's decision to move to a weekly schedule, as many readers and advertisers still desire a strong print product.
"We have certainly seen a good increase in readership from those who still want a newspaper they can hold in their hands, and at the same time from advertisers who know print can still deliver the best results, or those who may even have gone digital and found the experience less than successful," Holbert said.
Lagniappe's publishers say they believe in the future of both print and digital, but also think digital advertising has a way to go before it can offer advertisers an appropriately effective product.
Trice and Holbert said the move to weekly publication has been accompanied by an increase in both editorial and advertising staff.