Amid significant layoffs affecting many young minority staff members, the Los Angeles Times has named the first female executive editor in its 142-year history. And Terry Tang, taking over as interim editor, says she’s aware of the turbulence she’s stepping into.

“It is a challenging time, but it is a challenging time for the entire journalistic industry,” Tang told NBC News in an interview. “I’m very excited about meeting this challenge.”

Tang has spent 4½ years at the paper, helming the opinion section. Before that, she was at The New York Times for 20 years, holding titles in both editorial and news. She’s taking over L.A. Times from Kevin Merida, who stepped down this month along with several other top editors.