After three years of working in wonderful Forest Park, I am stepping down as editor of the Forest Park Review. Covering this town has been a privilege for me. When I started in 2011, I was returning to work after freelancing and raising five children. Around 800 articles later, I think of people I’ve covered in Forest Park as my friends. 

Way back when I started newspapering, we glued articles to pages with wax. Now we watch live on Google analytics. 

The demand for news is higher than it’s ever been, but newspapers everywhere feel an economic pinch. When a financial crisis threatens, most company instincts will be to cut corners. Here I’ve observed we respond by improving the product.  

 Since 2011, we’ve gone from a newsprint weekly to a web-centered service, updated daily, with a large presence on social media. We’ve refreshed our website, twice, and our reader comments have grown. Just this month we introduced high school sports roundups by Wednesday Journal Sports Editor Marty Farmer.

Our comments section became a place for conversations from all over Proviso Township. I counted 15 Forest Parkers at the January Proviso District 209 school board meeting. These are ways to move democracy forward.  

I have been honored to work with columnists John Rice, Jackie Schulz, Sharon Daly, Tom Holmes, Stephanie Kuhnert and Alan Brouilette. I’m so grateful for our regular contributing reporters Bob Skolnik, Bill Dwyer, Jackie Glosniak, Amy Malina and Nick Samuel. Watching our graphic designer Jacquinete Baldwin magically turn a bunch of words into a page is amazing to me. Hats off to Missy Laurel and Dawn Ferencak for connecting with our advertisers and helping them get the word out. Thanks to Publisher Dan Haley for guidance, support and asking the right questions. 

The Review is 98 years old this year and Wednesday Journal, has served Forest Park with a newspaper for 25 years. So much of Forest Park’s story has been documented in the Review since 1917. This is one reason I support the Historical Society of Forest Park. Forest Park’s lost history is the town’s best-kept secret. Can you picture an amusement park, a horse track, a women’s baseball stadium, giant Victorian homes and a torpedo factory? At the Forest Park Public Library website, you can read old Reviews about the 1960 great helicopter crash, moving houses out of the Ike trench and the dead body that showed up at the Lazy Lion pancake house.

How can you help keep the Review covering your town? 

 1) Subscribe to the paper. Readers grab my arm and say, “I love the Review, but I don’t even subscribe anymore. I read it online.” Our subscriptions are a bargain, and they help keep our wonderful columnists paid.

 2) Ask your favorite Madison Street merchant to advertise in the Review. Display advertisers pay the bills around here and keep our content free. If you shop at one of our advertisers, please thank them for investing in Forest Park Review and Forest Park’s story. 

Finally, I won’t be far away, as I’m starting a new online news site right around the corner in Berwyn.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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