LAT banking on e-reader & web *

While the latest newsroom reduction in talent was going on, L.A. Times editor Russ Stanton was upbeat last night in a class at USC Annenberg. The professor, executive-in-residence David Westphal, tweeted that Stanton said the paper's great hope for the future is the e-reader, likening its prospects to the success publisher Eddy Hartenstein had with DirecTV. Stanton also apparently said the Times is buying into a web-first strategy, with distinct web and print content (and noting that a third of web traffic is sports.) He also apparently talked up the flawed L.A. neighborhoods database the Times has put so much faith in. Westphal's tweets are here.

Layoffs/buyouts update: Still awaiting final numbers on this week's exits from the Times newsroom, and whether they will hit the 35-40 target that staffers expected. As usual, it's a mix of layoffs and voluntary escapes with a little cash to get started elsewhere. To yesterday's names add Peter Hong, the real estate reporter who has posted at Facebook that he's going to another unspecified gig. Awaiting confirmation on several other newsroom veterans who are going.

* Update: The packet given to affected staffers identifies only 10 positions being eliminated: 5 reporters, 2 producers, a photographer, a librarian and a web producer. Ages of the staffers are included, so many can be figured out. The deal this time is again basically a week of severance for each year worked, but the attractiveness of the package is probably in the details and how you get the cash. Oh yeah, there is a non-disclosure clause.

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