Link to 2007 Congressional Management Foundation’s Gold Mouse Report
Inhofe EPW Website Wins Coveted
Gold Mouse Award
CMF Recognizes Inhofe EPW Committee Website as Among the “Best of the Best”
Washington D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was recognized today by the Congressional Management Foundation http://www.cmfweb.org/ (CMF) for having one of the top websites in Congress. The Inhofe-Republican portion of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee website http://www.epw.senate.gov/minority 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.
“I am honored that the CMF recognized my Committee website as one of the ‘best of the best’ websites in Congress,” Senator Inhofe said. “Creating a top-notch Committee website provides the public more direct information – in many cases by bypassing and critiquing the mainstream media -- and greater access to their elected representatives. The goal of my website has always been to bring our government closer to the people and allows for more feedback from our constituents. Recognition by the non-partisan CMF shows we are well on our way.”
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 communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process.
The Inhofe EPW website has been on the vanguard of cutting edge Internet and media savvy dissemination. In December of 2006, Senator Inhofe launched the newly redesigned Senate EPW Website featuring a revised user friendly interface with quick access to audio and video clips of speeches and hearings. In addition, the new website featured the Inhofe EPW Press Blog, (LINK) a blog by Senator Inhofe’s EPW committee press office on the hot button committee issues of the day. The Inhofe EPW press team has authored numerous breaking news reports (See: March 20 report titled “Al Gore Continues to Demand Special Treatment” - LINK) and exclusive investigative reports from Washington D.C. (See: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics – LINK) In addition, the website released blockbuster reports, government white papers (See: U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007 - LINK) and filed breaking news and in depth dispatches from around the globe from such destinations as Kenya, Greenland and Indonesia.
Because of a year of stellar achievements, the CMF declared the Inhofe EPW website for being “among the best-of-the-best on Capitol Hill.” “Senator Inhofe’s Committee website 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 Beverly Bell, CMF’s Executive Director. “The Congressional Management Foundation congratulates Senator Inhofe for having a website that is among the best-of-the-best on Capitol Hill, and we are pleased to present Senator Inhofe with the 2007 Gold Mouse Award.”
The impact of the newly redesigned website was felt almost immediately, when tens of thousands of internet users per hour clicked on the Inhofe EPW Press Blog, and as a result, crashed the entire US Senate Web server. The historic shutdown occurred on January 30, 2007. [See: The Hill: Drudge, global warming shut down Senate site. (LINK)]
Shortly thereafter, the Inhofe portion of the EPW Committee website began attracting national press attention. The website won recognition from the Wall Street Journal as they noted in "Senator Inhofe Joins the Pajama Pundits" (LINK):
“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.”
The Inhofe EPW Press Blog quickly developed into a watchdog on news media excesses. Over the course of the past year, the blog provided badly needed ombudsman of the fourth estate when it comes to environmental reporting. Beyond reporting on the Weather Channel (See: Weather Channel TV Host Goes 'Political'- Stars in Global Warming Film Accusing U.S. Government of ‘Criminal Neglect’ – LINK), the Inhofe EPW Press blog held news organizations such as CBS News (See: CBS News Seeks ‘Hip’ Environmental Reporter, No ‘Knowledge of Enviro Beat’ Necessary - LINK ,) the Associated Press (See: Scientists Counter AP Article Promoting Computer Model Climate Fears – LINK ), Newsweek (See: Newsweek's Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism – LINK), ABC News (See: “I don’t like the word ‘Balance’’- Says ABC News Global Warming Reporter Bill Blakemore – LINK) and CNN accountable (See: CNN Anchor Cited Fictional Hollywood Global Warming Movie, The Day After Tomorrow, to Defend His Science Reporting – LINK ).
The Inhofe EPW Press team pioneered a Committee online ‘war room’ to serve as a rapid response team to counter misinformation. In June, as Senator Inhofe responded on the Senate Floor to EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer’s (D-Ca) assertions regarding Inhofe’s Gas PRICE Act amendment to the Democrat energy bill, the Inhofe EPW Committee press team was posting point by point responses (LINK) to her claims. Similarly when Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) began accusing the Senate Republicans for failing to ask the ‘hard questions’ about Yucca Mountain, the Inhofe EPW Press team quickly fired (LINK) back by noting that Sen. Clinton failed to attend the two previous EPW hearings on the Yucca Mountain.
Senator Inhofe’s award winning EPW website also began instituting real time updates during live events. The Inhofe EPW Press team became the first Committee to “live blog” during a Presidential State of the Union Address and began posting live blog updates (LINK) throughout important committee mark-ups.
Background on “Gold Mouse Award”
Websites 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 website.
The CMF recognized Senator Inhofe with their top award for developing a Congressional website “illustrat[ing] how committee sites can successfully provide timely and targeted information to its various audiences.” The CMF noted that Inhofe’s website was “designed for ease of use. Press contact names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses included in each press release make information readily available to one of the site’s key audiences: the press.”
The award also noted that the website’s “design and layout facilitate the delivery of thorough and targeted information to citizens. A ‘Fact of the Day’ section and blog posts give them updated content and help ensure repeat visits to the site. The content is also fully integrated and cross-referenced throughout the site. For instance, the issues section contains a brief statement by the Ranking Member, related press releases and speeches, as well as related facts of the day and blog posts. Providing a variety of content in a number of different ways ensures that users will find the information that interests them, regardless of where they look for it. The site’s legislative content has information specific to the committee’s work and jurisdiction, including information about its rules, history, hearing schedules, and nominations.”
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.
MORE BACKGROUND ON AWARD WINNING INHOFE EPW WEBSITE
In March, the Inhofe EPW Press Blog made international headlines with its March 20 exclusive report titled “Al Gore Continues to Demand Special Treatment.” (LINK) In addition, the website continued its unparalleled impact the following day, launching a website based Gore countdown button to track how many days since the former Vice President had refused to pledge to limit his energy use to that of the average American. See "Gore Refuses Personal Energy Ethics Pledge." (LINK) According to the website, it has been 299 days since Gore refused the pledge.
The Inhofe portion of the EPW Committee website also features innovative achievements including the creation of the Inhofe YouTube Channel as well as Inhofe podcasts. The Inhofe YouTube channel and I-Tunes Channel provides internet users highlights of several of Senator Inhofe’s 2007 national media interviews including appearances on the Glenn Beck Show, Larry King Live, CNN American Morning, Fox and Friends, Your World with Neil Cavuto, G Gordon Liddy Show, Hannity’s Radio Show, and Bloomberg News. The Inhofe YouTube Channel also includes video clips of Senator Inhofe addressing the Senate on issues ranging from increasing domestic refining capacity (LINK) to making the conservative case in support of national infrastructure needs (LINK). Also posted on the Inhofe YouTube Channel are highlights of testimony from a range of witnesses to testify before the EPW Committee such as Dr. Wayne Winegarden on the devastating economic impact on so-called global warming solutions to Oklahoma witnesses such as Donald Rowlett with OG&E.
The Inhofe EPW website also generated international headlines and has served as a source of breaking news and information. Here is a sampling of recent international coverage generated by the Inhofe EPW website: UK Telegraph; Boston Herald; Canada’s National Post; New York Times; Fox News; CNNMoney.com; Human Events; Croatia’s Javno; The Cincinnati Enquirer; WorldNetDaily.com; United Press International (UPI); Spero News; New Zealand Herald; CNSNews.com; Real Clear Politics; PA’s Morning Call; Investor's Business Daily; Colorado Springs Gazette; Newsmax.com; CA’s Orange County Register; Nashua Telegraph; Yahoo News; & Australia’s Herald Sun;
Sampling of Inhofe EPW Website’s Watchdog Role on News Media:
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