COLLEGE PARK (4/26/19) — A University of Maryland Capital News Service documentary about the future of Ellicott City, Maryland, after two historic floods aired on Maryland Public Television Thursday night.
The documentary, produced by Philip Merrill College of Journalism students led by faculty member Tom Bettag, explores the fallout from two thousand-year floods in 22 months that killed four people and led some businesses to leave the historic Howard County mill town.
Students Colleen Crowley, Adam Glass, Elena Macias, Sam Merrill, Casey Tomchek and Camila Velloso were the project’s producers.
“This is the story of a Maryland mill town that has lived with floods for two hundred fifty years…always rebuilding. But rains have worsened, and development has increased. Residents face the possibility of tearing down historic buildings to save lives. After four deaths, and losing businesses in two, thousand-year-floods in twenty-two months’ time, this may be the new normal for Ellicott City,” a synopsis on MPT’s website states.
One piece of the project, reported with correspondent John Yang, aired on the PBS NewsHour in December.
Bettag is the winner of 30 Emmy awards, two Peabody awards, six DuPont silver batons and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award.
Over 45 years he was a producer at the CBS Morning News, CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and 60 Minutes. He served as executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather from 1986-91 and of ABC Nightline with Ted Koppel from 1991-2005.
At Merrill College, he teaches field producing.