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A few months ago, Freedom Interactive President Michael Matthieu said he was “tearing out the infrastructure” at his newspapers and TV stations and making everything Web-centric. Now we see the first tangible results.

At The Shelby Star, Freedom’s 15,000 circulation paper located near Charlotte, N.C., page views are up 84 percent, according to editor Skip Foster, who gave a presentation at IFRA’s International Newsroom Summit in Paris April 19-20. The paper’s Web site has 3,300 requested message board users, 1,701 breaking news subscribers and 451 registered content contributors. The site also averages 5,260 video downloads per week.

According to IFRA’s blog coverage, Foster said the paper’s goal was to go multimedia “because people want to experience the news, not just consume it”; to overhaul the print version; and to serve new customers with targeted products. Foster added that everything is Web-centric now that “the paragraph is dead.” He also said his editorial staffers have been fully converted into multimedia producers, using everything from cellphone cameras, which have been used for front-page stories, to surveillance video, which was used to broadcast a robbery in progress.

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