As you know, one of my favorite pastimes is to jab at headline grabbing; the practice of printing articles and press releases that are loosely factual and mostly sensational. Since there doesn't appear to be any way to make them go away, I might as well just loosen the tie, kick off my shoes and join the party...
Here's my suggestion to some researcher looking to grab a headline:
"Use of Satellite Navigation Devices Reduces National Gas ConsumptionDamn, that's interesting stuff! So here are simple instructions to complete this study and resulting grabbage:
Researchers have just published a study that shows annual gas consumption has decreased due to the increased use of navigation devices. The study found that since less people were getting lost, less gas was being consumed..."
- Find a sponsor, my suggestion: TomTom
- Get you some data: A round number of... oh say... 20 moderate drivers in 5 cities should do.
- Crunch the numbers: Don't crunch too hard though, we're headline grabbing, not going for a Nobel.
- Write article: This one should write itself, I already did the first part for you.
- Distribute through PR Newswire: Nice guys over there but pricey (refer to step 1)
- Allot a few days to field interviews
- Bask in the publicity of your research
- Cash in your fat check from sponsor