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Joe Coughlin, Publisher
5:27 am CDT March 12, 2020

If you have not yet, please make sure you check out this story before you read this column. In it, we announce a change in platform of The Orland Park Prairie, which is moving to a subscription newspaper.

We hope you find the idea of supporting for your local news reasonable. We have been dedicated to providing unbeatable coverage of Orland Park for almost 14 years. And as you can imagine, producing complete and original community journalism takes people and it takes resources.

You have supported The Prairie for years, showing that you appreciate and trust our work. Asking you to purchase a subscription for our product is the next step in that journey.

Before I get into the specifics of a Prairie subscription, I hope you bear with me for an anecdote:

In my first year as a community newsman, a role I was not yet sure suited me, I got a call from a distressed woman in New Lenox.

She told me that one morning the month prior, her husband — a relatively young, vibrant man — did not wake up. With the breakfast table set, the kids waiting and the coffee hot, the man of the house never walked down the stairs.

In his sleep, to the shock of all, he slipped into a coma.

As medical bills piled up, the family of humble means decided to raffle off the husband’s prize possession: a rehabbed, vintage motorcycle. So, for the newspaper, The New Lenox Patriot, a sister of The Prairie, I wrote about it. 

I got another call from the woman a week later. Not only did the family receive more than enough entries to hold the raffle but also the winner of the bike gave it back to its owner.

Local news mattered then. Local news matters now.

We produce stories every week that inform, impact and inspire your community. A community connection is our foundation. With our feet on the street, we cover our communities like no one else can or will.

We report on Village Board and board of education (Orland School District 135 and Consolidated High School District 230) meetings. We are present at all of your favorite events, from the Taste of Orland to Orland Days to fundraisers and community concerts. We provide unparalleled and award-winning coverage of local sports and student-athletes.

This dedicated and valued coverage is our calling card and has led to unprecedented growth in the media industry over the last 15 years. It also has led to more than 170 national and state journalism awards.

More importantly, though, our detailed and authentic work has led to our news becoming an essential part of life in Orland Park and our other communities.

As The Orland Park Prairie moves to paid subscriptions, we are confident our loyal readers will continue to support the type of thorough, local reporting that informs, equips and inspires a community.

This is a necessary step forward for The Prairie, which has provided to you its award-winning coverage free of charge for nearly 14 years.

With your subscription, at just 75 cents an issue, you will be telling us that you value quality local news; you will be telling us that it matters to you.