HCI researchers working in publically funded institutions are increasingly encouraged to engage the public in their research. Mass media is often seen as an effective medium with which to communicate research to large parts of the population. We present an account of three HCI projects that have used engagements with mass media in order to communicate research to the public. We describe the motivations for working with mass media and the mechanics of writing press releases. A grounded theory analysis of online public responses to the projects in the mass media leads us to identify a number of concerns about how research is portrayed by news outlets and thus interpreted by the public. Tensions about technologies and wider societal issues were revealed that might normally be hidden when using traditional user-centred methods. We critically reflect on the efficacy of using the mass media in research and provide guidance for HCI researchers wishing to engage in dialogues with the public in the future.