As someone who works in science outreach I know only all too well how journalists and reporters respond to press notices: if it’s too sciencey, you don’t get any column inches. If it’s hyped up to the point of ridiculousness, you can be sure that every tabloid will be calling you.
I believe that the media have a responsibility to help disseminate accurate scientific information. Certainly, we’re not all scientists, and articles from the likes of the Journal of Applied Physics won’t make entertaining reading for the majority of us. But there should be a method whereby numbers and figures can be communicated to the majority in an understandable manner, without sacrificing facts for nonsense.
Anyway, a good friend of mine, Dr David Grimes, wrote an excellent article on the topic of scientific “churnalism”, and explores the limitations scientists have to endure when undertaking outreach, and the significant amounts of misinformation that is spread by media.
Have a read of it here: http://bit.ly/g9HtKd
(And make sure you check out his blog at http://3menmakeatiger.blogspot.com!)