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Or at least that’s how it felt in hindsight.

“Today is the kind of day that makes me want to buy a pumpkin,” I had just said to a senior editor before glancing at an incoming text on my iPhone.

I stood up, read the Tweet aloud to an editor and nearby reporter, then launched the Emergency Radio app on my phone. The first traffic we heard was something like, “Two children injured. They are in room 13.” (Read the story here)

We would soon discover that Brendan L. O’Rourke, 41, had allegedly fired a .357 Magnum into a small crowd of 2nd graders eating lunch outside at Kelly Elementary. Two girls, ages 6 and 7, were each shot once through their right arms.

A member of Twitter since 2008, I follow about 700 accounts. Many belong to media, law enforcement and local government agencies. Of those 700, about 25 are text-enabled to my iPhone. These are sources I have found over time to be the most valuable (or entertaining). Tweetdeck is always open when I’m working. And often when I’m not.

This bright autumn morning when news of gunshots fired at Kelly Elementary was first broadcast by police dispatchers and broadcast on scanners across the county, our irascible scanner was coughing and spitting incomprehensibly, as it has a habit of doing. I imagine we would have lost considerable newsgathering time had Twitter not been effectively utilized.

(I was later told that if I turn it off and “hit it a couple of times” or unplug it and “shake it,” it usually acts like a scanner. I should also mention that reporters make a lot of beat calls and still hear breaking news on the scanner when it works.)

I’m not claiming Twitter is the only, or most reliable newsgathering source available. It certainly has its share of downtime and problems. But today it possibly proved its worth to those previously unconvinced, as it has been doing in newsrooms around the world lately.

In the end, excellent reporting and teamwork among reporters, editors, web staff and photographers resulted in robust and timely coverage. Assistance from our broadcast media partners gave us content we could never have gathered ourselves. And Twitter, beyond saving the newsroom today, may have acquired a few new evangelists.

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Today I noticed: silence in the streets as President Obama gave his inaugural speech. I noticed everywhere I went, for the rest of the day, people of all colors smiling to themselves. Some cried openly at the mention of this day. The image of an unclenching fist meeting an open hand will not be shaken from my memory.

Today I noticed: a new sense of hope, and personal responsibility. On Twitter, I noticed a few who continued complaining, griping and angrily doubting this hope. There was no retaliation, only patience. Their pessimism is also a sickness and some will not be cured.

As I left for school I drove over what looked like an entire deck of cards, scattered and torn in the street. A radio announcer observed former president Bush had boarded his last official flight. It was the perfect symbolism. “Game over.”