Thursday, November 8, 2007

N.C. newspaper gets it--and gets it fast!

When folks in Shelby, N.C., wanted to see election results this week, they had a trusted source, the Web site of The Shelby Star. However what they saw on that site was rather unusual, certainly for a newspaper.

The Star had taken its Star Car live unit to a fire station where results traditionally are displayed. Web visitors could see live, streaming video of the results as well as the crowd who had gathered to see them. In its first official week of operation, the Star Car is making its presence known in Shelby.

The Star Car is a news vehicle that is designed to facilitate getting information and multi media content quickly back to the newspaper and its Web site. It is not a TV live truck, but it does many of the same things. In the words of Star Publisher Skip Foster, "It is good enough." (Read more>)

The Star, which is owned by Freedom Communications, is one of the most innovative newspapers in the United States. It has engaged its community with relevant, multi media content. Its series on an unsolved murder is journalism at its finest--and an example of why convergent journalism is more powerful. (Read more>) The series has led to an arrest in the 40-year-old case and is the subject of a documentary on the Oxygen cable network.

When big newspapers tell me they don't have the resources to implement a convergence strategy, I smile and point to Shelby, which has fewer than 20 journalists in its newsroom.

In the months ahead, I predict you are going to be hearing a lot more about the Shelby Star and its Star Car.

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