Congressman Schiff's Web Site Wins 2007 Gold Mouse Award

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Monday, January 14, 2008 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Congressman Schiff’s Web Site Wins 2007 Gold Mouse Award

Washington, D.C. – Representative Adam Schiff’s web site was honored today by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), a non-profit, non-partisan management consulting and research organization in Washington, D.C., for having one of the best web sites in Congress.  The site, http://schiff.dchou01.house.gov, was one of only 104 web sites commended in The 2007 Gold Mouse Report: Lessons from the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill.  To identify the awards, CMF analyzed 618 congressional web sites, including those of all Senate and House Members, committees (both majority and minority sites), and official leadership sites.  In 2007, CMF awarded 36 Gold, 34 Silver, and 34 Bronze Mouse Awards.   

I am delighted that my web site was named a Mouse Award winner by the Congressional Management Foundation,” Rep. Schiff said. “CMF does important work evaluating the constituent services of Members of Congress.  I am always looking for ways to improve communications with my constituents, and this report provides me with valuable feedback on how to meet that goal using my web site.”

Rep. Schiff continually works to ensure his web site is a user-friendly conduit 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 efforts in Congress.  The web site features a blog which provides Rep. Schiff with an informal way to communicate with constituents on issues ranging from the news of the day to community events to Congressional oversight hearings.  On his web site one can also sign-up for his weekly newsletter “The Washington Update.”  The newsletter includes interactive surveys, helpful links to his web site, and access to his email.  

The 2007 Gold Mouse Report and Awards are part of the “Connecting to Congress” research project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.  For this project CMF partnered with researchers from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, University of California-Riverside and Ohio State University to study how Members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communication 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 doing a good job,” said Beverly Bell, CMF’s Executive Director. “Web sites like Rep Schiff’s provide a template for other congressional offices to follow.” 

“Rep. Schiff’s web site shows that he understands the value of creating a virtual office to reach specific audiences who have come to expect having their needs met online,” said Bell.  “The Congressional Management Foundation congratulates Rep. Schiff for having a web site that is among the best-of-the-best on Capitol Hill, and we are pleased to present him with the 2007 Gold Mouse Award.”

“The 2007 report shows that web sites are an increasingly 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 basic building blocks which extensive research identified as critical for effectiveness:  audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation. Using these building blocks, an evaluation framework was developed by CMF and their research partners at Harvard, Ohio State, and the University of California-Riverside which would be fair and objective while still taking into account important qualitative factors that affect a visitor's experience on a web site.  

A full copy of the report, the 2007 Gold Mouse Report: Lessons from the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill, is available on the Congressional Management Foundation’s web site at www.cmfweb.org.