Don’t think that your work filling in the feedback form is wasted. We read every answer carefully and consider criticism and advice.
Let’s admit it, we frolic in comments such as “Good organisation, good topics, great networking and story ideas” or “great atmosphere, great input, impressive cooperativeness”. We love reading “No bullshit – everyone’s there because they actually do or want to do data/investigative journalism” or “It is a great gathering of genuinely interesting colleagues from all over. Inspiring!”.
But we also go through the critical points one by one and consider how things can be changed. The layout of the conference rooms? – well, there is a limit to what we can do, but it can maybe be improved somewhat. The technical set-ups, so sessions are not delayed because of trouble with PCs and projectors – yes, we should be able to solve that. Better representation from Eastern Europe – we are fundraising specifically for that, so please cross your fingers!
A number of you pointed to the fact that we are journalists and editors – not speakers! So for next year we plan a full day pre-conference workshop for speakers who want to improve their presentation skills – plus a set of online guidelines on how to make good and concise presentations.
And then the food! We are wringing our brains to find ways to vary and improve lunch, but there are also limits on both economy and practicalities: How can we serve 500 people lunch in one hour? We have been working on making lunch greener, and feedback shows that it worked some days, but not all. (It did feel a bit unfair, though, when someone complained about sandwiches 4 days in a row, when the conference only has 3 lunches!). But there is always room for improvement, and we work on it again 2020.
Did you forget to send your comments after the conference? You can still access the feedback form if you have comments that are not pitches for the 2020 program.