Defender's top executives resign over operating differences with owner
22, 2016) The Chicago Defender, the city's largest African-American
newspaper, has lost its two top executives over differences in how the
111-year old publication is being managed and positioned. Publisher
Cheryl Mainor and Executive Editor Kai EL' Zabar both tendered their
resignations last week to Hiram Jackson, head of Detroit-based Real
Times Media, owner of the Defender.
Frances Jackson (no relation), who previously worked as advertising
executive for the Defender, has been named interim publisher. A new
editor has not yet been named and, according to comments by Hiram
Crain's Chicago Business, two other staffers were also let go.
Mainor's departure came after an offer she made to Real Times to acquire
the Defender was turned down. The Chicago newspaper is one of six
newspapers owned by the company; The Michigan Chronicle, The Detroit
Front Page, The Pittsburgh Courier, The (Memphis) Tri-State Defender and
The Atlanta Daily World.
Mainor told Crain's that Real Times was more focused on growing business
events and less interested in satisfying her efforts to sustain the
paper's editorial content. "We definitely shook out along those lines,"
Jackson responded by saying he remains "committed to all aspects of the
Defender operation," including its weekly newspaper, and to the Chicago
market as a "premier" part of his business that he expects to grow.
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