Some highlights relevant to discussions about the putative death of junk DNA, and also abiogenesis, that often come up here:
I want to preface my comments by making a generalization about science writing and science communication. It is awful. In those fields where I have direct knowledge, the general quality of science writing is far below any standard that scientists would find acceptable. My colleagues in other fields echo these concerns. The worst examples are university press releases where it would be challenging to find one that would get a passing grade in an undergraduate science course.
What’s the proper audience in this case? I maintain that it’s the scientifically literate readers who know something about the topic. If they aren’t onside then the rest of the audience doesn’t matter. This is why I say that the top three criteria in science communication are accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy. I get the impression that for press officers the top three criteria are publicity, publicity, and publicity.
Well it’s not difficult to see how, even to some scientists (and not just the journalists and their editors), the intended audience is really just as many people as possible. This is largely about making money through ad-revenue by generating clicks with a catchy and sensationalistic title and story (or, to universities, inflating prestige to attract more students and private investor funding). It’s not just the fault of science journalists. Many of the scientists being interviewed seem to me all too willing participants and complicit in hyping and sensationalizing their research well beyond what their data actually shows.