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Ad Age reports that the American media work force is at a 15 year low–only 886,900 employed, thanks to the slumping newspaper industry.

And speaking of slumping–whole lot of changes at the LA Times. The LAT, with paid circulation less than that number above, is now helmed by Russ Stanton, who lost no time in kicking cranky features managing editor John Montorio to the curb. Nikki Finke approves, but he seemed to have some pals. Regina Schrambling, for one, which speaks volumes.

Publisher David Hiller is profiled in the NYT, where his enthusiasm for the LAT’s star on the Walk of Fame is used as an example of his lack of synch with editorial types. Cheezy as the “ceremony” may have been, at least he got out of the office. LAO shakes a veiny finger at Hiller’s “grabbing” of the paper’s Oscar tickets, which should have been donated to the homeless or kids living on Skid Row, no doubt. As if anyone in show biz cares who the editor of the paper may be.

John Kobin, in the NY Observer, takes a far keener interest in the LAT’s doings than anyone on this coast. He got Montoria to say he was surprised by the firing. That interview must have been a phoner, because how could he say that with a straight face?