New editor of Chicago Defender Shari Davis Noland, of Oak Park.

The former communications director for the Oak Park Education Foundation is now, as of Monday, the executive editor of the more-than-a-century-old Chicago Defender — perhaps the country’s most storied and influential African American newspaper, the media journalist Robert Feder announced on his blog, Feb. 27. 

Shari Davis Noland, of Oak Park, will step into the position after the paper’s former executive editor, Kai EL’ Zabar — the first female to hold that position at the paper — resigned last December, along with Cheryl Mainor, the paper’s publisher. 

The two women told Crain’s last December that their ideas for the paper diverged from the vision of its majority owner, Real Times Media of Detroit, which they said is more focused on enhancing the paper’s business events, the most important of which is the annual Bud Billiken Parade.

Noland has journalism degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Missouri. She’s married to Terry Noland, the executive editor of Chicago magazine.

 Michael Romain

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