Congress Online 2003: Turning the Corner on the Information Age

Congress Online 2003: Turning the Corner on the Information Age

The latest report card on congressional Web sites shows that half of all sites scored high marks in 2003 while a quarter remained at the bottom of the curve. Congress Online 2003: Turning the Corner on the Information Age grades the sites of members, leadership, and committees based on five criteria: audience, content, interactivity, usability, and innovations. The honor roll is much longer this year, with 50 percent of sites earning an A or B, compared with 10 percent in 2002. The best sites feature extensive issue sections on pending legislation, background information on the member's position, and online constituent services. A quarter of the sites received a D or F, compared with 32 percent a year ago. A common mistake among low-scoring sites was promoting the member rather than providing information to constituents. The study was produced as part of the Congress Online Project, a partnership of the Congressional Management Foundation and George Washington University, with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and additional support from ChevronTexaco and Microsoft Corp.