I agree with your analysis, here, DrQuine.
While journalists still should bear the burden of digging up facts, our hope is that expert readers/professionals like yourselves could be the ultimate BS detector.
I am a firm believer of "mining the gems" when it comes to many people weighing in on issues.
I see 4 factors converging to create a "perfect storm" for news media.
First, the 24 hour instant messaging news cycle demands a continuous flow of "information". This is not conducive to production of deeply thought out investigative reporting.
Secondly, the Internet and (especially) Twitter allow everyone a platform to publish their opinions. Credentials and insights are easily displaced by the loudest most photogenic person spouting memorable sound bites. These statements may not be true, but they are more entertaining than a thoughtful talking head. Unfortunately, many citizens are not well enough versed in critical thinking and the scientific method to distinguish storytelling from fact.
Third, multiple competing ďchannelsĒ of information prevent any of them from achieving critical mass to support the overhead of long term investigative reporting and analysis. Targeting content to the known audience also tends to encourage a bias in the reporting to meet audience preferences.
Finally, as society recognizes entertainment and sports figures as media "stars" (multitasking attention deficit disorder requires continuous action to maintain audience attention), glitz displaces the news focus on scientific accuracy and significant intellectual accomplishments. Following a scientist for 10 years leading up to a Nobel Prize is less entertaining than watching superstars self destruct.
The opportunity that I see, and that EE Times is pushing, is to create engaging sites of authoritative information on specific topics. While the Internet does not have a means to certify accuracy of content by web site, subject matter experts do discover the reliable sources. Ideally there would be a means to ensure that the mass media links to these sources for interested readers. I'm encouraged that Google News does have links to EE Times stories on technical topics (e.g. http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4211355/SpaceX-s-Dragon-reaches-orbit today).
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight Ė as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.