Reporters should understand that the way they cover vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks can influence the behavior of people, either helping them understand that vaccines are safe and necessary, putting them on-the-fence about vaccines, or scarring them away from getting vaccinated and protected.
The most basic answers to your questions about vaccines are that while vaccines aren’t perfect, they are safe and necessary and they do work well to protect us from vaccine-preventable disease.
Crying non-stop for 3 hours or more after a vaccine can be scary. Fortunately, DTaP crying is not caused by encephalitis or any other terrible thing you might read about. It is a painful local reaction.