Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen’s congressional Web site was named one of the best Web sites on Capitol Hill today and given a 112th Congressional Bronze Mouse Award. The award was given by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), a non-partisan nonprofit working to improve communications between constituents and Congress and enhance the operations in Capitol Hill offices. CMF has assessed and graded congressional Web sites and issued these awards since 2001.
“Delegate Christensen is to be commended for educating citizens and achieving the highest degree of transparency and accountability in online communications,” said Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of CMF. “In the 21st Century, a Web site is much more than a broadcasting tool for a political message – it’s a virtual office and a window into our democratic institutions. These winners of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Mouse Awards understand the value of using the Internet to enlighten and serve constituents, and are examples for all congressional offices to follow,” he said.
Congresswoman Christensen will be honored at the Gold Mouse Awards Ceremony on Nov. 16.
Congresswoman Christensen thanked CMF for the award and thanked her staff, in particular Web site manager Makeda Okolo, for pursuing and implementing the design changes that resulted in an “A-“ grade and receiving this award. “In all areas, our office strives to remain accessible to our constituents and transparent in our actions,” she said. “We are pleased that our Web site and other social media pages are now on par with the best in the Congress.”
CMF conducted its analysis from June to September 2011 and today released its latest report, “112th Congress Gold Mouse Report: Best Practices in Online Communications on Capitol Hill.” Of the 618 congressional Web sites graded a total of 98 Web sites earned A’s and will, therefore, receive a Plantinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze Mouse Award. With the assistance and guidance of faculty from the University of California-Riverside, the Ohio State University and Northeastern University, CMF staff assessed and graded the Web sites and gave each a numerical score, which was translated into a grade from A through F. Reviewers assessed 10 categories of criteria: usability of Web site; timeliness of content; breadth and depth of information on issues; constituent services and casework information; promoting accountability to constituents; legislative process information; district/state information; floor proceedings, information; availability of diverse forms of content; and availability of diverse forms of content channels. CMF reviewers also included social media components in the criteria.