Media rules. OK? There's two types of publicity that results in our sport getting splashed around the media.

1. The first is when Miley Cyrus (insert any celebrity name here) goes skydiving. We trip over each other to be part of this circus, revelling in the fact that we are now mainstream because someone famous became part of it (if only for a day).

2. The second type is when something goes badly wrong. You know, the pear shaped skydive: pulled the wrong handle (or didn’t pull at all); hooked it too low; flew into the crowd at a high profile demo and hit the woman with the pram; landed the tandem 5km out in the ocean, in shark infested waters without floatation gear, shark repellent or your trusty boy scout whistle… The fatality or serious injury is where we try and run away, but as we are doing so, we trip over the line of reporters ready to lap up our official statement - "we don't want to speculate until the results of an official investigation…"

As a result we must suffer in silence whilst we read the reports about people plummeting, 'chutes that failed to open and basically, if you go for a skydive, this is as good as it gets. You know, you've read plenty of them. And guess what, they're all the same. When faced with a reporter's lack of knowledge of the sport, they fall back on what's been written in the past - the same uninformed drivel that's been going on for the last 216 years (since Andre-Jacque Garnerin’s first jump over Paris on 22 October 1797). And who can blame them; after all it's largely our fault.

One reason for this is that most of us don't really believe in the statement "there's no such thing as bad publicity". I know it’s a difficult concept to grasp when you’re surrounded by a hostile bunch of reporters looking for sensationalism. But the statement contains the germ of truth that can change how we are perceived in the media. When there's an accident, we get media coverage and people start talking about the sport. All you have to do now is enter the conversation. Before that, it was a one-way conversation - you doing all the shouting (using expensive advertising) and no one else listening!

So give your official statements, but spend some time educating the reporters telling them about the sport, what it's like to free fall, the equipment, the exhilaration, the fun, the camaraderie, the safety and regulations, accidents and of course the element of risk that is an essential part of life for this special group of people. You may get a more informed story with a different angle to it. Maybe a free tandem jump and you’ll get a feature article on skydiving a couple of weeks later...??

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that when it's time for Miley, Brad or Angelina to do their next skydive you'll be on top of your media game...

Breaking news:

OK, getting back to Miley. Yesterday, as I was waiting in the checkout line at the supermarket I scanned the covers of the weeklies. And there it was: a picture of Miley with the sensational headline – no, not about the recent skydive, the fact that Miley had collapsed after dieting down to 44 kilos! Hey, 44kg tandem passengers – that’s what we need more of.

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