Online Only: Lessons from the Texas Abortion Fight
If you weren't following Wendy Davis' filibuster and the Texas abortion fight online, you missed the story. Television news and print media caught the highlights, but #TamponGate, “Hail Satan” and the “jars of feces” mystery all broke online. When lawmakers took a key vote on a sweeping abortion bill after the deadline, the evidence came in the form of a senator's Instagrammed photo of a time stamp. When state police claimed to have confiscated jars of feces from Capitol protesters, the lack of photo evidence on social media suggested to many that the police were lying.
In this panel, a pro-life lobbyist, a pro-choice activist and two Texas journalists analyze how the story changed depending on your point of view and who you follow on Twitter. The panel will discuss lessons from a national news story that unfolded almost exclusively on the Internet.
Texas Right To Life
Emily Horne is a lobbyist for Texas Right to Life - the state's largest pro-life organization, and has lobbied the past two legislative sessions for pro-life reforms. She's a lifelong Texan and a graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in business marketing. Hailing from Bellville, TX, Emily now resides in Houston.
The Texas Observer
Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, joined the Observer as a staff writer in 2005. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Organizer, Media Team Member
Rise Up Texas
Rocío Villalobos is an advisor and the Social Justice Education and Leadership Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin Multicultural Engagement Center. In addition to her organizing work with Rise Up Texas, Rocío is a board member at the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas and the YWCA Greater Austin, both of which offer support services for women. She also volunteers with the immigrant rights coalition Texans United for Families, coordinates the Hutto Visitation Program to the T. Don Hutto Detention Center for asylum-seeking women, and is a collective member with MonkeyWrench Books.
Sonia Smith, a native of Houston, is a graduate of Georgetown University. She has reported on convict cowboys at the Angola Prison Rodeo, celebrity magazines in Moscow, and aerial hog hunting in Knox City, Texas. She has also written for Slate, the Associated Press, the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Kyiv Post, and the Dallas Morning News and was a finalist for the 2008 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. Her great-great-grandfather was a Texas Ranger in Kerr County in the 1870’s.