I’m in Santa Clara waiting for the Kelsey conference to start. For lunch, I went to the hotel bar, where I met Dawn Paduganan, VP sales and marketing for Freedom Communications.
Among the many topics we discussed was local video, which prompted her to mention the Shelby Star in North Carolina. It’s a 15K circ in an under performing market, so Freedom decided to turn the paper into a lab. It is a place to experiment.
For example, they have reporters shooting and editing video with inexpensive cameras.
Visit the site — it’s not going to win design awards, but they’re doing some interesting things.
- No lead photo, but video links to AP and local video dominate the top content area.
- Lots of blogs, but not with fancy “brand” names such as “The City Beat” or “Sports Corner,” but just people names.
- Obits — more than a week’s worth of obits linked right from the home page by date.
- Search nice and big and at the top of the page
And they are posting a lot of video.
Dawn tells me web site traffic is way up since they started posting video and made other changes to their content and coverage, and reader feedback has been strongly positive. The video has been a big hit, she said.