Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes
Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes

Parkour and the Media

Uh-oh. Parkour is in the news again.

What rooftop-jumping, death-defying, risk-seeking stories have they cooked up today?

Any parkour practitioner who has spent some time on social media has inevitably come across the negative news stories involving our beloved discipline. If a person wanted to learn about parkour exclusively through news stories, he might come out thinking that parkour is a dangerous, daredevil sport and that everyone who tries it either destroys or vandalizes something before falling to a terrible death. Don't believe it? Just take a look at some of the most popular parkour news titles on the Internet today.

"Parkour Girl Falls 17 Stories to Her Death"

"Hunger Game Stunt Double Dies in Parkour Fall"

"Russian Parkour Fans Damage Athens' Acropolis"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying these news stories shouldn't exist. I'll I'm saying is they are often the only type of news stories we see, with many featuring misleading titles just to score some precious page clicks for the news sites. (We call these titles "click bait")
German Traceuse Denise Reichert

For instance, the "parkour" girl in the first news story had never actually trained parkour before. She was basically just told to jump from one roof to another by a group of guys she was chilling with in the wee hours of the morning when her fatal fall occurred. It is a tragic story of a terrible accident, but that was no parkour girl.

It's not news that the media likes to focus on the negative, and parkour is by no means immune to that trend. These negative news stories often portray the discipline in a skewed light, usually describing it as a daredevil sport for thrill-seekers.

Add to this the fact that negative stories tend to get passed around the social media sphere more often than neutral or positive stories, and we have a recipe for widespread misconceptions about parkour. The same thing happens with parkour videos: some awesome footage of great athletes goes virtually unnoticed while "parkour fails" go viral.

Fortunately, there are some positive stories out there that celebrate parkour (or, at the very least, don't demonize it.) Just look at these titles:

"Parkour Changes Vista Teen's Perspective on Life"

"Fast-paced Parkour Offers Outlet for Women in Iran"

So apparently, there is still hope. Good news for us.

Here's the first thing that I think needs to happen. We need to stop spreading the negative stories if they are misleading. Even if you share a link on your Facebook page saying, "Hey, this story sucked because they made up a bunch of s*** about parkour!" Guess what? You're generating traffic to that news site with every one of your friends' clicks. Honest reports of tragic accidents, however, are a good reminder to train safe. Just get facts straight before sharing to avoid spreading misconceptions.

Novel Banner for Parkour Book Feral Phantom

Second thing that needs to happen, we have to get some more positive stories in the news. Did your training group completely fix up an abandoned park? Did you lose 50 pounds training parkour? Tell your local news site about it. They just might pick up your story. Plus, whenever we see these stories, we need to saturate Facebook and Twitter with them to show the media outlets that we support this positive attitude.

Let's work together to change popular perceptions of parkour.

Train safe, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.