Just got a call from Will Wiquist, Sen. Bernie Sanders' press secretary, about the Congressional Management Foundation's 2007 Golden Mouse Awards. The CMF analyzes Congressional websites, and has produced a lengthy report detailing the woeful way in which our legislators are failing to grasp the usefulness and importance of the web.
The CMF evaluates websites based on design and layout, constituent services, legislativecontent, press resources, communication tools and state and districtinformation.
According to the report, the most common letter grade earned byCongressional websites was a D. More than half of the sites that got aD last year repeated that dismal performance, or slipped to an F rating. Shame!
Here's one of my favorite findings:
While 98.3% of of Member sites have content about national issues, just63.1% of them included information from the 110th Congress.
The 110th Congress meets from January 2007-January 2009. How hard is it in this day and age to update your website once every few months?
Will Wiquist called me because Bernie won a "Silver Mouse Award," the equivalent of an "A." Both Rep. Peter Welch and Sen. Patrick Leahy won Bronze mice (an "A-"). Leahy slipped from his Gold finish in 2002, 2003 and 2006.
Here's the press release from Bernie's site.
“Senator Sanders’ Web site shows that he understands the value ofcreating a virtual office to reach specific audiences who have come toexpect having their needs met online,” [CMF executive director Beverly Bell] added. “We congratulateSenator Sanders for having a Web site that is among thebest-of-the-best on Capitol Hill.”
Bernie's "Web site" is pretty nice. There's an audio/video archive, a photo gallery and a flash spotlights slideshow. Cool. The Sanders web staff might, however, want to include a link to the report announcement on the CMF site. Just a suggestion.