News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 22, 2013

MAX JONES: Telling a river’s story, in words and pictures

Max Jones
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Among a newspaper’s most valuable assets are its storytellers, the men and women who employ their journalistic skills and talents to report, write and capture pictures of topics relevant to readers.

The Tribune-Star is fortunate to have some truly great storytellers on its newsroom staff. I’m proud to be associated with all of them.

Beginning Sunday and continuing for the next four Sundays, two of our storytellers will present a series of articles they’ve been working on for a couple months. They will be telling the story of the Wabash River in words, still photographs and video in a way that’s sure to inform, enlighten, entertain and inspire.

Mark Bennett and Jim Avelis have spent recent weeks traveling the length of the Wabash River, from its source at a “couple of [drain] tiles in the woods” near a small town in western Ohio, to its confluence with the Ohio River south of Mount Vernon in southwestern Indiana.

The Tribune-Star’s legions of readers are certainly familiar with Mark and Jim. Mark is a columnist, feature writer and editorial writer. Prior to that he served as sports editor for many years, and before that toiled on our copy desk. He’s a seasoned pro with deep roots and extensive knowledge of our community and state. It was Mark who produced the awarding-winning series “Walking in the Shadows of 9/11” two years ago to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Jim has been making pictures for us as a photojournalist since the early 1980s. Perusing his portfolio is like reviewing the Wabash Valley’s history over the past 30-plus years. Many of his images are iconic and unforgettable — dramatic depictions of the local news events of a generation. It was Jim who took the memorable photograph of local firefighter Nick Sarris as he carried an infant child from a burning house. That image won Jim Photographer of the Year honors in 1999 from the Hoosier State Press Association.

The upcoming series represents a great collaboration of two experienced journalists who have a passion for their craft and telling stories that matter. And it couldn’t come at a better time as Terre Haute celebrates 2013 Year of the River.

Sunday’s opening story tells about the Wabash River’s “Ohio Miles,” from source to the Indiana border. Subsequent Sundays will feature the “Namesake Miles,” the “Great Bend Miles,” the “Terre Haute Miles” and the “Southern Miles.” In addition to print edition presentations, readers can follow the series online at each week with multimedia segments.

Mark and Jim have done a wonderful job telling the river’s compelling story. We hope you enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Max Jones can be reached at 812-231-4336, or by email at Follow him on Twitter, @TribStarMax.