CMF Ranks Inhofe Websites as "Two of the Best Websites in Congress"
April 23, 2010

Contact: Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov 202-224-9797 

CMF Ranks Inhofe Websites as "Two of the Best Websites in Congress"

Inhofe One of Only 6 Members to Receive Two Gold Mouse Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was recognized this week by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), for having two of the best websites in Congress. CMF analyzed all 620 congressional websites, including those of all Senate and House Members, committees (both majority and minority sites), and official leadership sites. According to CMF, only six members received awards for both their personal office and committee websites. 

"New media provides the opportunity to reach directly out to Oklahoma constituents and the American people and let them know about my work here in Washington," Inhofe stated. "From YouTube to Twitter, from my Senate blogs to podcasts, new media is providing greater access to Washington. Now more than ever, the American public has the opportunity to stay informed and engaged with their elected officials. I am pleased to continue to be recognized as an online leader." 

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. "Websites like Senator Inhofe's serve as a prime example that we hope other congressional offices will follow."  

"Senator Inhofe's websites shows that he understands how to meet the needs of his constituents online," said Bell.  "The Congressional Management Foundation congratulates Senator Inhofe for having a website that is among the best on Capitol Hill, and we are pleased to present Senator Inhofe two 111th Congress Silver Mouse Awards." 

"The 111th Congress report shows that websites 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. 

Websites 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 http://www.pmpu.org/

Previous Recognition for Inhofe Websites:

The Wall Street Journal: "Pundits do it. Scientists do it. Even Donald Trump does it. So why shouldn't Congress blog too?" The article goes on to say, "His [Inhofe's] media team is somewhat notorious in Washington for their 'facts of the day' and 'weekly closer' emails that attempt to get out another side of the story. And their new blog is already making waves, not to mention causing some congressional tech malfunctioning."

Grist Magazine: "Listen up, James Inhofe, because this might be the only compliment Grist ever pays you: You've got a decent website," writes the liberal online publication Grist today. "Despite your wacked-out view that climate change is a "hoax" and your opposition to a climate bill, inhofe.senate.gov does a fair job of making your climate and energy positions clear and accessible to the Oklahomans who voted to send you to Washington. In fact, your website is more transparent than the sites of many senators who completely disagree with your views on global warming, including Democratic leaders Harry Reid (Nev.) and Richard Durbin (Ill.), along with two of the most influential senators when it comes to environmental policymaking-Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Jeff Bingaman (N.M.)." In fact, Grist rated the website as "excellent" awarding the grade of "A" to Senator Inhofe's website. 

ColoradoPols: Following a YouTube post from Senator Inhofe's press office regarding a July 21, 2009 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, which the Denver Post reported made "Colorado Governor Bill Ritter squirm" ColoradoPols.com stated: "We have to admit we were also impressed with the speed Sen. Jim Inhofe's office had this video packaged and distributed through a wide viral network--all the way down to our own community talking-point beacons."

Slapstick Politics "For many of us outside the Beltway, the perception (and the reality) is that the "insiders" on the Hill don't get new media, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. For every rule, however, there is an exception, and in this instance a very good example of how Republicans can use new media to challenge Democrats on any number of issues, including our own Gov. Bill Ritter on his support for the Waxman-Markey bill."

Tulsa News on 6 reported back on February 3, 2009, Senator Inhofe has long been committed to new media outreach. "In fact Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe stars in one of the most watched videos on the YouTube Senate Hub. He recently posted a video from Cuba during his visit to Guantanamo Bay. It may be surprising to know that Senator Inhofe has two website channels, one of which was recognized in 2007 for being one of the best on Capitol Hill. Now like many politicians he's turning to YouTube and other networking sites to reach the public. Inhofe is on facebook, has his own YouTube channel, produces podcasts, writes a blog, and has recently joined Twitter. In this day in age Inhofe says the internet is the best way to reach constituents. He says it enables him to bypass the mainstream media and allow for more participation in the legislative process. In fact, the senator is so web savvy, when we contacted his office to learn more on his attempts to use this new medium, he appropriately posted his response in a video on YouTube." As the Tulsa station mentions, Senator Inhofe believes the use of website, blog, and news media provides greater access to the public and constituents to his work in Washington.  

Congressional Management Foundation (2007) The Inhofe-Republican portion of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee website was awarded CMF's prestigious 2007 "Gold Mouse Award." CMF is a non-profit, non-partisan management consulting and research organization in Washington, D.C.

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