The state's oldest daily newspaper made a sudden change at the top of its masthead Wednesday, but the story about why and how also appears to be rapidly changing.


Ginny Sohn left her position as the publisher of the Santa Fe New Mexican early in the day, a matter that the paper's owner Robin Martin personally announced to stunned employees at its downtown office and Southside production facility early in the afternoon.


Shortly thereafter, a story with no byline appeared on the paper's website explaining, among other details, that Sohn said she had "not left of her own accord." It also included a quote that, "I would never leave the paper this abruptly on my own."


But a few hours later, that part of the story was removed with no explanation.


Editor Ray Rivera tells SFR this morning only that he "can't comment" on why. The story that appears in today's print edition says Sohn reports "confidence that the New Mexican is on a path for success" and gives a longer statement about the paper's "strong foundation." 


As is the case in many of public and private sector personnel changes, the paper framed Sohn's departure as "stepping down," and the fundamental reason might never be publicly clear.


Sohn, who had long served as advertising director, took its helm in 2012 after Martin said she wanted to take different role in the institution that her father Robert McKinney owned for decades before his death in 2001. Recently, a board of directors also began helping with leadership of the New Mexican company, which began printing newspapers in 1865 and also owns newspapers in Taos, Raton and Angel Fire.


A story published by the New Mexico Press Association says Sohn arrived at the New Mexican in 1981 after working at Condé Nast in New York and left briefly for a stint as ad director at the Reno Gazette Journal before returning to take that job in Santa Fe in 1989. She was named associate publisher in 2007.


Today's report says Sohn "helped keep the paper financially stable through difficult economic times that wreaked havoc on the newspaper industry."

The paper's new publisher is Tom Cross, a former financial controller for the New Mexican. He's also formerly worked as publisher at a paper in Watsonville, Calif., and held other media and nonprofit jobs. Today's story says he starts on Monday.

Martin did not immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment.