Journalists in general have lost the public trust and science journalists, as I have discussed, stopped asking the awkward questions and instead became science cheerleaders (2), which is never good for the public or the media. Schultz notes one other issue:
“The fact that science stories in the media have been found to contain more errors and inaccuracies than general news reporting suggests that journalists’ abilities to deal with science stories are limited relative to their abilities to deal with other kinds of news.” -I have not analyzed Stocking's data but, if true, it is certainly a significant condemnation that maybe makes the rest of my blog invalid.
Holstein, Lisa W. and Stocking, S. H. “Manufacturing doubt: journalists’ roles and the construction of ignorance in a scientific controversy”, Public Understanding of Science. 18. (2009): 23-42.
He also, thankfully (because too few did), dismisses framing as a valid tool. I may be the only person in science or science media who thinks the audience is smart, but they sure are, and framing is 'spin' to smart people.
He also says what we have for half a decade now; get out and talk to the audience directly. There is some validation in getting in an old media print journal but real-time interaction works. Here, various book authors have even used the audience to help them figure out material for their next book. The audience is just that - make them part of the solution.
(1) Scientists disagree on whether or not the public is smart, usually when it comes to their discipline. But the audience thinks highly of scientists. Scientists don't think much of science journalism either. No respect and no readership may mean its time has come.
(2) Which is not a bad thing. The Science Cheerleader is awesome.