Last week, we did something we rarely do. In response to pushback we received after publishing an editorial called “Turbulent bars,” the Review organized a Zoom session to explain our intentions to our readers and to listen to your concerns.

About two dozen of you joined us for that session and provided raw, honest and productive feedback. After about an hour, we agreed that we won’t stop reporting and editorializing on race in Forest Park, as sensitive as that topic often is.

But one person’s feedback, in particular, struck a chord. In so many words, he told us to remember that there are flesh and blood people behind our words who have to deal with their real-world impact.

That comment, from someone who had never heard of the Forest Park Review before reading the controversial editorial, reinforced just how critical our role as a local newspaper is to the community and just how essential it is that we incorporate an array of community voices in all facets of our editorial process.

To that end, we listened to what you told us during that May 11 Zoom session and are working on enhancing our reader engagement process.

Below, we’ve outlined some immediate ways that readers and stakeholders can get your voices heard on our platforms, hold us accountable and help us improve our reader engagement process.

We’re always open to hearing your thoughts on what’s happening in Forest Park and one of the best ways of doing that is by submitting letters to the editor. You can visit online for information on the criteria.

Forest Park is rich with small stories waiting to be uncovered and brought to the eyes of the public. Do you have something in mind that deserves to be reported on? Is there breaking news happening we should be notified about? Make a pitch to us by going online at:

If you want to submit an obituary, visit:

Finally, we’re currently overhauling our reader engagement process and will be returning with more details in the near future. In the meantime, however, we definitely want to start hosting community listening sessions on a regular basis — not just in reaction to controversy — and we want you all to help us plan them. If you’d like to lend some of your time, energy and focus to helping us host these regular listening sessions, please email me at or call me at 708-359-9148. We’ll be setting up some planning sessions in the next few months and would greatly appreciate your input.

Michael Romain