ABC cancels Big Ideas. Another show has fallen victim to the ABC’s cancellations. Big Ideas, which aired Mondays and Fridays on ABC1 and was fronted by Monash Uni politics lecturer and media commentator Waleed Aly, will not be returning in 2015. It’s a curious cut, as the program largely aired speeches and the like already given elsewhere, giving them a wider audience while presumably putting little pressure on the ABC’s purse.

In a statement on the Big Ideas Facebook page, the show’s team writes:

“It has been our absolute pleasure to bring you 172 hours of high-quality, low-cost television each year. Hours of ideas, debate and intellectual thought that has covered a wide breadth of subjects including; politics, education, literature, environment, religion, philosophy, science, health, law, ethics, business, arts and many more.

“We are proud to have been the go-to place for Australian students, academics, scientists, designers, business leaders, educators and the larger public who are working on and curious about ideas, current debates and the issues of our time.”

Big Ideas was created by Peter McEvoy, the EP also behind the ABC’s Q&A program. Crikey has heard but has been unable to confirm by deadline that the axing came as a shock to the program’s staff, who were allegedly told on Friday night the show wouldn’t go ahead next year. The last Big Ideas will air on November 30.

Last week, satirical news program The Roast announced it had also been cancelled by ABC management. — Myriam Robin

Extra extra, read all about it. The University of NSW has released the results of The Australian Study of Health and Relationships, the second part of an in-depth study aimed at figuring out just what Australians get up to under the covers. The study contacted 20,000 men and women aged between 16 and 69 (really) via phone, poking and prodding them about their sexual exploits (or lack thereof).

The results: Australians are having less sex, but in more interesting ways compared to a decade ago. In fact, the study found the number of times most Australians “do the deed” is 1.4 times a week. And while you might not have been having sex over the weekend, you were probably reading about it. The Age (along with a number of other publications) couldn’t help but extensively report and comment on the findings, in vivid detail. The Saturday Age alone contained, in its dead tree edition, three articles about the survey; by comparison, the number of articles on the upcoming state election in the same issue was two (and journos didn’t bother interviewing a sexologist for either of them).

In the same issue, next weekend’s G20 Summit had three stories, although no infographics or statistics asking members if they “participated in role play or dressing up”. If nothing else, we can thank this dogged reporting for some fantastic mental imagery. Take this quote from sexologist Sarah Calleja: “I’d say boomers are having the most rewarding sex.” — Crikey intern Andrey Rodionov 

The Sat Paper gets creative. Morry Schwartz’s new newspaper has for some time made creative use of Twitter mentions to advertise itself in its own pages. But this Saturday’s effort really takes the cake.

We like to think a Crikey subscription serves the same function … — Myriam Robin

Lazy cliches. Latest entrant into that endless media competition Greens Derangement Syndrome? The Guardian Australia, in a story on the formation of a Greens national council. The council has been in the works for a year now (opposed by some) and had to be ratified by the full party. Christine Milne made a statement saying it would be “even more effective”. Guardian headline? “Greens form new national council to help boost stagnating support”.

The suggestion relies on a single poll suggesting that the Greens are sitting on 10% national polling “down from a high of 14%”. Yes, and up from a low of 8.5% at the 2013 election. After that, Scott Ludlam took 16.6% in the WA re-do Senate race, and the Victorian Greens are polling 17% in the run-up to the state election. Some stagnation. “It’s easy to dance on the grave of the Greens even though they are yet to die,” the article has one expert saying. Easy? It’s the default setting of the mainstream media. Sad to see The Guardian resorting to this lazy cliche. — Guy Rundle

You mean you made it up?!? The trials involving journalists in the UK continue, but here’s a curious little detail, reported by The Guardian:

“The jury was told that one journalist had used the phrase ‘senior police source’ to dress up stories and aggrandise himself in the eyes of his bosses and readers. Jamie Pyatt, 51, told police he had never paid police officers and that the phrase ‘senior police source’ was just a euphemism.

In a police interview made under caution and read to the court, Pyatt, The Sun’s Thames Valley reporter for 25 years, told officers: ‘Everybody uses it to make it look like they have got somebody on the inside track.

‘We are trying to make ourselves look as if we are so inside the story so the reader thinks, “Oh he’s done well”. The phrase was to “dress it up”, to make [the story] look a lot stronger than what you have got.’

Asked by police to describe the term ‘police contact’, Pyatt said it was a ‘very, very wide’ term, and could apply to the girlfriend or wife of a police officer.”

This is all coming, mind you, out of The Sun, a newspaper where police have been so far unable to prove any phone-hacking or bribery occurred. But it seems some ethical standards were, nonetheless, sorely lacking …

Video of the day. Prince Charles relives the day he was interviewed by Molly Meldrum on Countdown. “I certainly learned some interesting new Australian words from Mr Meldrum, and if he could have read my mind he would have learned some interesting new English words from me.”

Front page of the day. The Times’ Asia cover on China’s president.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.