Role of the Press - I'm still figuring this one out.
I can't argue with the fact that a good TechCrunch article can help attract a lot of applicants, but I'm not convinced that it is anything other than filling your own affirmation cup. When Powerset first announced itself, I admit that I was very happy to see how much VB and TC hyped us up. It got us a lot of attention and a lot of people applying to the company - plus it felt really good.
After our first TC article we were getting almost 1,000 people a week applying. However, as time went on, I found myself hating the press we were getting, and we were getting a lot. It ended up really just screwing up my interviewing process. Engineers are by nature skeptical people. All of the press hype actually only made convincing them harder to do... there's some sort of weird anti-correlation between press hype and ease of convincing an A-level engineer that your technology is real.
I do have to admit I did support our hyped up press strategy in the beginning, but after a year of it, it ended up being a huge pain in the ass.
I think there is just too much hype in the world. The press, who needs to get page views to make money, is forced to sensationalize their stories. It's easy for founders to take advantage of this and too often I see founders fall into the trap of going after glory, fame and power rather than going after what they should - which is simply building something awesome.
While I think that TC and VB can be used to attract talent, be wary of this tactic as it can often be the crutch of the second-hander. (re. Ayn Rand)