In a Q&A that first appeared in Encore, Peter Fray talks about is media habits and the long list of journalists he’d like to poach.
Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?
Tempted to say Rupert Murdoch (or Kim Williams) but truth is it’s the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. He/she can change the rules for all media. So, at the moment it’s Stephen Conroy.After that, well, I guess if Tony Abbott doesn’t punt him to foreign affairs, the answer is Malcolm Turnbull.
What one medium could you not live without?
I’d die without being connected to the net.
Your one guilty media pleasure?
Harpers Bazaar: multiple ways of telling a story. And The Economist, of course. Data, good analysis and reportage.
The next big industry trend is…
Fact checking. I know that’s what journalists ought to do, but fact checking, as conceived in the US by PolitiFact.com and others, has the capacity to re-energize journalism and affirm the truth over spin. In 2012 PolitiFact rated a third of the statements it checked as true or mostly true. Affirming the truth is as important as nailing a lie. But I have always had a soft spot for the aphorism, ‘tell the truth and shame the devil’.
Can I also say that I am fascinated by the convergence of screens. I am no expert but you can’t help but be excited by ideas like hybrid broadcast broadband TV and IPTV.
If you weren’t doing this for a living what would you be doing?
Producing theatre. I am currently co-producing the Hansard Monologues, a verbatim play by Katie Pollock and Paul Daley at Seymour Centre in July. No money in it but a heap of satisfaction.
Your best piece of career advice…
Enjoy the struggle. Celebrate the wins. Understand the losses. Be as clear as possible about what you want.
If you could poach any one person, who would it be?
Lenore Taylor, an absolute star but I guess she’s pre-poached. George Megalogenis: love his work. David Marr, of course, and the irrepressible Sarah Ferguson. I should also say that there are some very impressive younger journos out there.
More journos to poach: Kate McClymont, Linton Besser. Steve Pennells. But, hey, I ain’t employing at the moment.
Would you recommend working in this industry to your kids?
Of course. They would need a different skill set but the fundamentals are the same: tell stories, ask questions, be curious, be sceptical, engage people, celebrate humanity.
What is your favourite Aussie ad?
I really like Dumb Ways To Die. My kids love the song – they pointed it out to me – and they don’t even know it is an ad.
This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.