You are right. No person with an adequate basic worldview of physics would write a sentence like "... is made up of just a few subatomic particles: electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, and so on." because he/she knew that protons and neutrons consist of quarks. The "and so on", seems inapropriate as well.
Also the Mike Ross's article raises some questions (although it is far from being a bad journalism when compared to many others):
- The statement that these "special electrons" had no mass was passed so lightly as it was nothing. Although, now I know that it is some special case which was found a while ago.
- "..the researchers repositioned the carbon monoxide molecules on the surface" - So, how did they do it? With a scanning tunneling microscope? I am not arguing on this one, I just didn't find it out from the article.
- The force that forced the electrons in a graphene pattern was still electromagnetic, wasn't it? So how were these particles 'fooled'
? The statement about fooling the electrons came from one of the researchers, but I would still like to know. The journalist should have asked.
I wouldn't mind if the journalist reread some of the materials about basic nuclear physics before writing an article, no problem, that's what I did just a moment ago. It is the journalists job to gather background information and it is just a fraction of the information gathered that reaches the article. I mean the journalist should have just a notch of a deeper understanding than the level he/she is writing in. Although I have to admit, It probably is a bit harder in case of the breakthrough science journalism though.