PBS does an informative print interview with New York Times associate managing editor Jim Roberts on the Times’ social media strategies. The headline is that the Times still gets 50% to 60% of its daily online traffic from readers who type in the URL or bookmark the homepage. That’s an impressive sign of reader loyalty and the strength of the Times brand. Roberts hints that referrals from other online media outpace those from Twitter or Facebook, which are growing, even though @NYTimes has 2.8 million followers and 1 million Facebook fans. I doubt that’s a reflection of an older Times audience – news consumption is pretty topic-driven. Roberts expresses some concern about the staffing resources needed to curate and otherwise manage social media. Also, he talks about “engagement,” but social media is clearly more of a distribution channel and audience acquisition tactic for the Times right now, as it should be. The Times isn’t half bad at hewing to the social elements of a modern media manifesto.