- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Irene Nolan, the former Louisville Courier-Journal managing editor who helped the newspaper win a Pulitzer Prize in 1989, has died. She was 70.

The Courier-Journal reports (https://cjky.it/2mQTV9C ) that Nolan died Friday after spending recent days in a Norfolk, Virginia hospital several hours from her Frisco, North Carolina home on Hatteras Island. Her family said she had been ill with a severe lung disorder.

Nolan was serving as editor and co-owner of The Island Free Press, an online publication in coastal Carolina.

From 1987 to 1992, Nolan was managing editor of the Courier-Journal. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for covering the 1988 Carrollton bus crash that killed 27 people.

She became one of the first women to manage a major American newspaper’s newsroom, though she wasn’t the first woman to become managing editor at the Courier-Journal. The late Carol Sutton, Nolan’s mentor, claimed that title a few years earlier.

David Hawpe, former Courier-Journal executive editor, said Nolan entered journalism at a time when women were overlooked for leadership roles, but finished there as a strong, energetic managing editor.

Stephen Ford, Nolan’s successor as Courier-Journal managing editor, said Nolan had “had admirable qualities and temperament for those tasks” as the newspaper underwent ownership changes.

“She was fiercely determined to preserve the long-standing commitment of the newspapers to hard-nosed, public-service journalism, but at the same time she could be decidedly unsentimental and open to change,” Ford said.

Nolan, a Brooklyn, New York native, graduated from the Indiana University School of Journalism.

She joined the Courier-Journal as a clerk in the women’s department in 1969 and worked her way up through the newspaper’s hierarchy.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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