Henry Lightner was a drummer boy at the battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. After he died he was buried in an unmarked grave in Baltimore. For the bicentennial of the war, his descendents are working to have his grave properly marked. They also intend to invite hundreds of people from all over the country to attend the grave marking.

Henry Lightner’s drum on display at the Star Spangled Banner Flag House Museum

 

America’s national anthem was written in the aftermath of one of the most critical battles in the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner after seeing the flag waving over Fort McHenry. His words helped make the flag a national symbol, and inspired a wave of patriotism among  generations of Americans to come.

Baltimore is scheduled to host a two year long celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore. The celebration begins with a week of events called the Star Spangled Sailabration. The event will include an air show by the Blue Angels, reenactments of the Battle of Baltimore, and a fleet of Tall ships to be docked in the Inner Harbor.

Brian Stelter, during the Q&A section of the screening

On the evening of Thursday April 12, the Mass Communication and Communication Studies Departments at Towson University sponsored a special screening of a special documentary.

Just before 7 p.m. students, professors, and invited guests gathered in Van Bokkelen for a screening of the 2010 documentary Page One.

Page One is about the changing world of printed news and how the New York Times struggled to stay afloat during the difficult challenge. The film covers several journalists at the Times and how they are dealing with the development of new media over taking the older model of print media.

One of the journalists featured in Page One was Brian Stelter, a 27-year-old reporter on new media. Brian was hired by the Times because of his strong reporting skills and popular following of subscribers on Twitter and his personal blog.

Stelter had recently graduated from Towson University when he began working at the Times. His successful career path is considered by professors and students at Towson to be a truly exceptional opportunity that the majority of journalism students will not experience coming right out of college.

The screening of Page One was organized with the help of Towson University’s student organization the Society of Professional Journalists. SPJ distributed tickets leading up to the event via email to students in the Mass Communication and Communication Studies departments.

Society of Professional Journalist President and Vice President introduce Brian Stelter and the Page One Documentary

“We used advertisements and there were a couple flyers around campus to draw in people,” said Devin Hamberger President of Society of Professional Journalists. “And we talked to several classes and professor Broadwater and Dr. Cooper to spread the word.”

The organization and professors in the Communications departments advised many of their students to attend the event to gain a better understanding of how the age of new media is affecting print and other forms of media, and how it will continue to change and develop.

Hamberger introduced the film with a brief speech discussing the importance of the film on the media industry.

“The movie was actually a lot better than I thought it was going to be,” said Andrew Monath, senior, Communication Studies major.

When the film ended Stelter stood before the audience for a brief question and answer session. One of the topics he covered was how things have changed at the Times since the documentary was made. Stelter informed the audience that conditions at the Times have only improved since the filming of Page One.

Business at the Times has picked up and the online version is doing much better, although most of the money for the paper comes from print ads, Stelter said.

Overall the screening was considered to be a success. The seats of the lecture hall had all been filled in advance via the email ticket system. The tickets to the show sold out so quickly, some of the students were permitted to see the film but only if they were willing to stand in the back of the lecture hall.

“Overall we had an awesome turnout,” Hamberger said. “People really enjoyed meeting Brian, and the reception we had was really nice.”

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