I am honored to be submitting my first post in the EVE Blog Banter. Unfortunately, as a noob to the game, I can't really answer any of these questions intelligently. However, I will address the topic of low sec in EVE from a new player's perspective.
Like most people, I had been told what a "dangerous place" low sec is in EVE. I decided, as a noob, that I would stay out of there, at least for now. So I did my tutorials and started missioning. Fortunately for me, I decided to participate in one of my corps PvP fleets. Flying with them has introduced me to low sec (in a "safe" group environment), and now I have a slightly different perspective on it.
First, if you're a new player afraid of low sec, do yourself a favor: find a fleet to fly with and try it out yourself. A good PvP fleet can teach you a lot about low sec--mainly, how to fly there safely (or at least as safely as you can). Perhaps in the future I will post a guide on this, but I don't feel I have enough experience with it to be giving advice at this point. The important point to take away here is you don't have to be afraid in low sec! You need to know some tricks of the trade, true, and you need to be alert at all times, but there's no reason you, as a new player can't venture into low sec.
Do yourself a favor. Find a group of friends who have some experience with PvP and low sec and fleet up. Take a frigate with a cheap fit. Put a couple warp stabilizers on it. Ask your friends to take you around low sec and give you some tips on how to fly there safely. They will teach you how to travel safely (no autopilot!). Hopefully they'll teach you the basics of using the directional scanner. Most importantly, you will gain some confidence and realize that you can do this.
Even though I feel I know the basics of traveling in low sec, I don't hang out there by myself. But if a mission requires me to dock up in a low sec station or travel through a low sec system, I'm not afraid to do it.
Does CCP need to give some more love to low sec? Again, I don't know personally, but from what I've seen the consensus within the community is yes. Hopefully they can make some changes so low sec isn't so empty. Low sec should be more than the place you travel through when going from high sec to null sec.