I was trying to contact the editor of the Canberra Times, Peter Fray, last week to quiz him about whether he was indeed a front runner for the editor’s job at the Sydney Morning Herald, and he wasn’t answering. This morning I finally got through.

It’s a strange job interviewing another journalist. They know what you are doing in asking questions, and you know what they are doing in not answering them. It’s all very knowing.

So here is how the conversation went.

Me: People are saying you are a front runner. Do you think so?

Fray adopted a politician’s line. People may say he is the front runner, but the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

So has he been sounded out or approached?

“I don’t see there is a lot to be gained by me entering into this speculation.”

(I take that as a “yes”)

And he went on: “I have a great job here. I like the Canberra Times. Editing the Sydney Morning Herald would be a great job too, and I wish whoever gets that job very well.”

(I take that as another “yes”.)

Finally, he said that a shortlist of candidates was being compiled, and interviews would be conducted, and “If I am on that shortlist that would be good, but I am not sure there is a lot to be achieved by me speculating.”

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