I think in the early days such an incident would remain unnoticed. Don't get me wrong : it's very bad today, it already was bad yesterday. Just, the media were not interested in near-incidents, and didn't know how to make money from them. Today they know, and they do - it's easier than knowing exactly what happened to that plane in the Indian Ocean, for example.
I don't know if the dreamliner is better or worse than other current jets, but it does no seem to me worse than some other planes
who left quite bad memories to the companies exploiting them.
Life's dangerous, and modern planes are safe, comparatively. Even the 787 Dreamliner.