04.21.10

Congressman Schiff's Web Site Wins Gold Mouse Award

Washington, D.C.  — Today, the Web site of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was recognized by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) for having one of the best Web sites in Congress.  CMF analyzed all 620 Congressional Web sites, including those of all Senate and House Members, committees (both majority and minority Web sites), and official leadership Web sites.  Schiff’s site, http://schiff.dchou01.house.gov, was one of only 135 Web sites commended by CMF in its 111th Congress Gold Mouse Project. 

"I am proud that my Web site was recognized by the Congressional Management Foundation as a Gold Mouse Award winner,” Rep. Schiff said. “CMF performs valuable work evaluating the constituent services of Members of Congress.  I continually strive to improve and enhance communications with my constituents, and this CMF report provides useful feedback on how to meet that goal using my Congressional Web site.”

Rep. Schiff is always working to make his Web site as user-friendly as possible and an effective tool for communicating with his constituents.  He routinely evaluates his Web site and updates it with the latest technology aimed at keeping his constituents informed and up-to-date on his work in Congress on their behalf.  The Web site features a blog updated by Rep. Schiff, which serves as an informal way for him to communicate with constituents on issues ranging from the news of the day to community events to Congressional oversight hearings.  Constituents can also sign up for Rep. Schiff’s weekly e-newsletter, “The Washington Update,” from his Web site.  The e-newsletter includes a Congressional update, helpful links to his Web site, and access to his email.  The most popular feature of the e-newsletter is a point-and-click survey about one of the week's top issues.  Survey results are provided the following week, showing what constituents and their neighbors thought of these pivotal questions. The Congressman’s Web site also includes a feature entitled the “Capitol Report,” a half-hour public affairs show taped on Capitol Hill.  Each month on the Capitol Report, important Washington-based officials join Rep. Schiff to talk about issues important to Southern Californians.

The 111th Congress Gold Mouse Awards are part of CMF’s Partnership For A More Perfect Union, which seeks to improve the quality of communication between Members and their constituents.  For this project, CMF partnered with researchers from the Harvard Kennedy School, Northeastern University, University of California–Riverside, and the Ohio State University to study how Members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process.

“One of the key reasons for the awards is to highlight best practices so offices can improve their sites by learning from those already excelling in online communications,” said Beverly Bell, CMF’s Executive Director. “Web sites like Schiff’s serve as a prime example that we hope other Congressional offices will follow.”

“Congressman Adam Schiff’s Web site shows that he understands how to meet the needs of his District online,” said Bell.  “The Congressional Management Foundation congratulates Congressman Schiff for having a Web site that is among the best-of-the-best on Capitol Hill, and we are pleased to present Congressman Schiff with the 111th Congress Gold Mouse Award.”

“The 111th Congress report shows that Web sites continue to be a critical channel through which Members and Congressional committees can communicate with, and hear from, citizens.  The Internet is a vital tool for elected officials and the public to use in the give-and-take of ideas and opinions that has characterized the American form of government since its founding,” Bell said.

Web sites were graded on how well they incorporate five core principles that CMF identified through extensive research as critical for effectiveness:  know your audience, provide timely and targeted content that meets their needs, make the site easy to use, foster interaction both on and offline, and add value through innovation.

Using these core principles, an evaluation framework was developed by CMF and their research partners, which would be fair and objective while still taking into account important qualitative factors that affect a visitor's experience on a Web site. 

The 111th Congress Gold Mouse Project report, a full listing winners, and other comparative data is available on CMF’s Partnership For A More Perfect Union Web site at www.pmpu.org.