(TriceEdneyWire.com) – 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 Jackson in 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,” she said.
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.