News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 4, 2008

Editor's Note: Teaming up to help readers understand Indiana’s tax issues

By Max Jones

TERRE HAUTE — Being part of a national newspaper ownership group has its benefits. CNHI (Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.) has been the Tribune-Star’s parent company since the fall of 2000, and included in its group are a number of other daily newspapers in Indiana, including the Kokomo Tribune, the Herald Bulletin in Anderson, the News and Tribune of Jeffersonville and New Albany, the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, the Lebanon Reporter, and the Goshen News.

Recently, a small group of editors from CNHI’s Indiana properties embarked on a project to focus on the state’s ongoing property tax crisis and how it will impact the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly.

The Tribune-Star teamed up with editors at Kokomo, Anderson, Jeffersonville/New Albany and Lebanon to produce the written content, photographs and graphics for the three-day series that will begin on Sunday.

The Herald Bulletin produced the material for Sunday’s Part 1, while the Kokomo Tribune produced Part 2, scheduled for Monday. The Tribune-Star was responsible for Part 3, which will appear in Tuesday’s newspaper. The News and Tribune of Jeffersonville/New Albany created the artwork to accompany the series, both in print and online.

The series has been made available to all of CNHI Indiana’s daily and weekly newspapers. It is expected to get wide play throughout the state.

In addition to news content, our team produced editorials to run each day of the series. Even two original editorial cartoons were crafted to accompany the editorial series.

The Tribune-Star will publish most of the content generated for series. Part 1 details how Indiana’s system of taxation and government evolved — or failed to evolve — over the past 100-plus years. Part 2 explains how the 2007 property tax crisis triggered calls for local government reform. Part 3 focuses on the various legislative proposals on the table as the General Assembly convenes on Tuesday.

The series provides a wealth of information on a major topic of interest for Hoosiers. We commend it to readers’ attention. As always, we would very appreciate your feedback.

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We need to set the record straight on a photograph published on Page A1 of last Saturday’s Tribune-Star (Dec. 29). The large photo, showing Terre Haute’s Mayor-elect Duke Bennett shaking hands with outgoing Mayor Kevin Burke, generated numerous comments from readers, who found the photo both compelling and entertaining because of the strained expressions on the faces of its subjects.

The photo appeared to show a spontaneous action on the part of Burke and Bennett, and we presented it as such.

Subsequently, it came to my attention, and the attention of other senior editors, that the content of the photo was not spontaneous. In fact, the handshake took place following a suggestion to Burke by our newspaper’s photographer.

Had we known that the action in the photo occurred at the suggestion of our photographer, we would have used the photo differently, if at all. If it had been used, we would have explained in the photo’s caption that it was, in effect, a posed scene.

It is not uncommon for us to publish some types of feature or documentary photos in which the photographer heavily influences the scene. In most cases, the nature of those kinds of photos is obvious to readers. When it’s not obvious, it is our practice to explain that.

We did not do that in this case, and I feel it is important that readers know the truth behind the creation of this particular photo.



Max Jones can be reached via e-mail at max.jones@tribstar.com.