October 17, 2009 - October 18, 2009
Washington, DC

On the weekend of October 17th at American University’s campus in Washington DC, NPR, PBS and the AU Center for Social Media will co-host a two-day event that we hope will serve as the kickoff for similar community collaboration events around the country. PublicMediaCamp is going to be organized as an unconference - an event without a rigid, top-down programmatic structure, with the sessions organized by the participants themselves. We’re modeling it on other unconferences like Barcamp and Podcamp, which have successfully spawned similar volunteer-driven events around the world, as well as public media unconferences that have been hosted by Minnesota Public Radio and KUSP in Santa Cruz, CA.

At PublicMediaCamp, we’re hoping to bring together as many as 300 people from around the country - public broadcasters, coders, community technology activists, citizen journalists, neighborhood organizers and the like - to begin this national conversation. It’s hard to say how the two days will be spent; I wouldn’t be surprised if we see techies engaging in code sprints, bloggers developing community journalism projects, community activists proposing station-hosted townhall meetings, etc. But that’s what’s exciting about unconferences – they are each as unique and powerful as the people who decide to participate.

We’ll also be teaching public broadcasters how to host their own their own local PublicMediaCamps, to get the ball rolling in their communities. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is funding for a number of scholarships for station staff to attend PublicMediaCamp and experience an unconference for themselves. We’re also working closely with Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs, host of many successful DC-area unconferences, to help us create a “PublicMediaCamp-in-a-box” toolkit that will help stations work with their communities to organize unconferences of their own.

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