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Jill Abramson First Woman Editor of New York Times

Abramson, the former managing editor, replaces Bill Keller

Jill Abramson has been named the executive editor of The New York Times, the newspaper’s publisher Arthur Sulzberger announced on Thursday.

Abramson has been a managing editor since 2003. She is the first woman to lead the paper in its 160-year history.

"It’s meaningful to me," she told the paper. "You stand on the shoulders of those who came before you, and I couldn’t be prouder to be standing on Bill’s shoulders."

Bill Keller, the executive editor of the paper, will step down to write for the paper.  

The move was accompanied by another prominent management shift at The Times: Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief, will become the managing editor for news.

Read also: NY Times Page Views Fall After Paywall

The appointments come at a time of great change at the paper. With print revenues fading, the Times has instituted a subscription based paywall and plans to relaunch its Sunday Week in Review section.

The company's first quarter results were dismal when announced in April. Operating profit — $31.1 million — fell 41 percent compared to 2010's first quarter ($52.7 million).

The shift in leadership puts a woman and an African-American in charge of arguably the most influential news organization in the country, a significant sign of diversification at a paper that has been criticized for its weakness in that area despite its liberal leanings.

This is the first time the paper’s top newsroom positions have turned over since the Jayson Blair scandal that led to Keller's appointment eight years ago and the ouster of then-editor Howell Raines.

In the wake of the Blair scandal, Gerald Boyd, another African American, was pushed out of his position as the paper's managing editor. 

Baquet has also served as the editor of The Los Angeles Times.

Abramson rose up through the ranks of The American Lawyer and the Wall Street Journal. Along with Jane Mayer, Abramson co-authored "Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas," which detailed Anita Hill's testimony during the Supreme Court justice's confirmation hearing. 

The paper has had other significant staffing changes of late; the popular columnist Frank Rich left to New York Magazine, and Joe Nocera and Frank Bruni have recently joined the op-ed page. Meanwhile the Week in Review section is meant to undergo a major overhaul.

The New York Times has seen its total page views slide since installing its online paywall.

According to Hitwise, in the 12 days after the paywall was erected, total page views for NYTimes.com fell between 11 percent and 30 percent per day.