News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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April 17, 2014

Tribune-Star columnist named company’s best

TERRE HAUTE — The Tribune-Star’s Mark Bennett has been named CNHI’s Columnist of the Year for 2013 in its large newspaper division.

“This is a significant achievement in a highly competitive contest,” said Tribune-Star editor Max Jones. “CNHI’s large newspaper division contains a number of excellent publications from several states, and to be honored with this award is testament to the consistently excellent journalism Mark produces.”

CNHI, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., is the Tribune-Star’s corporate owner and conducts a yearly editorial excellence contest for its daily and weekly newspapers and websites that serve more than 130 communities across the country.

Here is what the judges had to say about the entry: “Bennett approaches his columns thoughtfully. He clearly knows his subject matter well, yet he supports his pieces with strong, original reporting. His writing is clear and informative. His series on the Wabash River was classic storytelling.”

Last summer, Bennett produced “500 Miles of Wabash,” a five-part series published on Sundays over a five-week period. The series explored the unique and colorful history of the Wabash River from its humble beginnings in a farm field near Fort Recovery, Ohio, to its confluence with the Ohio River southwest of Evansville. He visited and reported about the river’s immense impact on communities along its route, including Terre Haute.

The series was a central part of Bennett’s entry in the contest, but the entry also contained several columns produced during 2013. Bennett writes twice-weekly columns that appear on the front page on Thursdays and the cover page of the Sunday Perspectives section.

After full-time stints as a reporter for the Sullivan Daily Times and Brazil Times, Bennett joined the Tribune-Star in 1985 as a copy editor. He is a former sports editor and has worked as a columnist, feature writer and editorial writer for the past 10 years.

“Mark is an extraordinary talent whose work and productivity are prime examples of what journalists strive for,” Jones said. “He sets a high standard of excellence. We’re lucky to have him on our staff.”

Bennett is a graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School and Indiana State University.

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