What worked well at Public Radio Camp?

So what went well at PublicRadioCamp last Saturday?

Back in February Dan Gillmor stopped by Minnesota Public Radio to talk about the future of journalism. The setup was standard interview fare - two people at microphones in front of a crowd sitting in an auditorium. The reaction to the event was immediately negative - people complained about the lack of interaction with the audience and the back channel chat on Twitter was devastating.

Last Saturday a smaller group of people met in the same location for Public Radio Camp. The setup was completely different. Butcher-block paper on the walls, ubiquitous wi-fi, tables, movable chairs, and about thirty people who were interested in improving media not just talking about it.

So which one of these events was more successful? As usual it depends on your goals, audience, and perspective.

I felt the Gillmor event covered material I already knew. There was minimal interaction with the audience in a conversation that was ostensibly about how the audience is becoming more powerful than journalists. The journalists in the audience seemed to mostly be fearful about the future of their profession.

At Public Radio Camp everything was turned around. People were enthusiastic about public radio and the information they hoped to get from it. They were interested in expanding participation and bringing more people into the conversation. Finally the format was based on open space and left people alone long enough to let them self-organize.