By now, those who spend a lot of time online (or read the news) have probably gotten used to the idea that printed newspapers are declining in relevance: their newsrooms are shrinking, some are closing down or going bankrupt, and others are trying to shore up their falling revenue with paywalls. But it’s worth noting that even these alleged dinosaurs still have some power over us, if the events of the past week are any guide — and the shared experience they offer has no real equivalent online. What happens to society when (or if) we lose that?
The first example comes from the New York Post, which ran a photo on its front page on Tuesday of a man who had been pushed onto the subway tracks and was about to die. The response was overwhelmingly negative — and not just in newspaper columns like the one David Carr wrote for the New York Times, but on blogs and in comments on Twitter and Facebook as well.