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When Twitter does what journalism can’t

June 27, 2013

By Salon

Wendy DavisOn Tuesday, June 25, Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas stood for nearly 13 hours without food or drink, without rest, without leaning, without the ability to use the restroom, to filibuster Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), a legislative measure that would have closed 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas, the largest state in the contiguous United States. Interested people from around the country, nay, the world, were able to watch this filibuster and the political maneuverings of those who tried to stop it, via a livestream on YouTube — one watched, at times by more than 180,000 people.

The filibuster was a gripping spectacle that kept me rapt for hours. On Twitter, people were able to offer support, however symbolic, for Sen. Davis’ efforts. There was a sense of community. For some levity, I couldn’t help remarking on Sen. Davis’ flawless hair, several hours into her ferocious stand.

Near midnight, after some intense and partisan efforts to derail Sen. Davis’ efforts, the impassioned crowd in the gallery began shouting and cheering, letting the senator know she did not stand alone. It was a sound of women fighting for their reproductive freedom in the only way they could: with their voices. I will never forget that sound. It awoke something in me I hadn’t realized had gone dormant.

And why were so many of us watching this amazing set of events happen on a YouTube stream? Because none of the major news networks, not one, carried or covered the last hours of the filibuster. The gap between old and new media yawned ever wider.

That, however, is not where this story begins. Read the rest of the story at Salon.


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