Dickson: The first thing to emphasize is that, while there is generally closer working, the Church and State division between editorial independence and the advertising and commercial aide is paramount. We cannot allow our journalism to be influenced by outside forces, and that is front and center in all we do. Every reporter on the paper knows it. We use social media on the reporting side. We collaborate, particularly with Darcy [Keller, head communications for the Americas] and her team, on the social media side… to get our message out of what we’re producing in the paper. It’s been an invaluable means of spreading the word of what’s going in next day’s paper. A very large portion of our [registered users] now are coming from social media leads…Conversely, social media is important for our reporting efforts in terms of increasing ability to crowd-source information. The ability to go on Twitter and see what people are talking about and, in some instances, actually react if there is a situation literally involving crowds that’s on Twitter. During the  London riots, you could go on Twitter and you could see what was happening on the ground before any mainstream media was reporting. We’re keen to incorporate social media increasingly into our website offering. The question, which I think everyone is grappling with, is how much and to what extent do you mediate what’s coming on?
CJR: Of course. Beyond, literally just beyond that, phones and tablets are kind of a big deal these days. Does that change your life at all?
Dickson: Not in terms of reporting, particularly.
CJR: Last thing: Mobile is such a big growth thing. Is that a disincentive to do longer pieces, since people are reading on these smaller screens?
Dickson: No, not at all. It’s obviously not as easy to read a 3,000-word article on a phone as it is in print or online, but our readers read us in multiple formats. They do just read us on the phone, and they don’t just read us at the start of the day. Every day we run a big page, what we call a ‘Big Page,’ which is a page with a full-page feature on it. A lot of our traditional readers, if they don’t have time—these are all very busy people—if they don’t have time first thing in the morning to go through the whole paper, they will often rip that page out and save it for the evening or the weekend.
CJR: Right, or press the “Read Later” button or whatever.
Dickson: I don’t think it’s a disincentive at all.