So where were you? What was running through your mind when you saw it?
Did you cry?
Of course, these questions pertain to the conversations surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration. Few events capture the attention of the nation, indeed of the world, like yesterday’s swearing in of a new president of the United States.
The media sought to capture the scene for history, and in so doing, reflect the emotions connected with it. (Where were you? Did you cry?)
The results were impressive. Web sites posted pages that had real impact and emotion. Even though the newspaper industry is struggling mightily, publications produced front pages and special sections that captured the moment.
The public, hungry for images and news out of Washington, overloaded the Web, according to the New York Times.
My friend Jim Kavanagh of CNN.com related that the Web site had 20 million unique visitors on Jan. 20, generating 180 million page views and 26 million live video streams. “At one point we had 1.3 million live streams going simultaneously. These live stream figures are believed to be a record not only for CNN.com, but for the entire Internet,” he said.
Sure, the news media are fighting to find a new business model that will support their important work. But there is no denying their relevance to our daily lives and their ability to raise a simple question: Did you cry?