The much awaited make-over of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee page is finally here. The new website looks classy, has a better layout than the previous one and much better photos (except that they’re still using Senator Lugar’s old photo). The main page includes a welcome message from the SFRC Chairman, photos of both the chairman and the ranking member on its landing page, as well as the names of committee members and the list of subcommittees. It has links to the hearings page, and the press sites for both the chairman and the ranking member. The “About” page includes links to Committee History and Committee Rules and Jurisdiction.
There is a link to the contact page at the very bottom of each page. But don’t get your hopes up because it looks like a “cut and paste” thingy from the previous website:
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 446 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-6225
Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651 Minority Phone: (202) 224-6797 For internship information with the Majority Office, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For internship information with the Minority Office, please send email to email@example.com.
Back in February Brian Young, the new webmaster on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff had a piece on TPM about updating the SFRC website. Part of what he posted at TPM below:
Because we're not just looking to spruce up the website, drag it into the 21st century with links to press releases, video of hearings, etc, etc. We want to do more than that; we want to create a website worthy of the Committee. Of all Committees in Congress, this is the one most suited for a powerful, interactive website. This is a priority for Senator Kerry. He hired me with this in mind. He wants a site that creates a portal into the foreign policy deliberations this nation needs to have to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
This site will be designed to involve people in a conversation about the future of this country's foreign policy.
I don’t know if this site has been officially rolled out. My old link just went dark and so I had to look this up. I can find the links to the prepared testimonies but can find no links to the hearing videos at this time nor any of the promised “interactive” thingies.
Something that would also not make the general constituents happy is the absence of a a real contact page for the committee staff. I hope this is still a work in progress.
Recently somebody wrote to us about a certain ambassadorial nomination. When told to contact the SFRC, the writer complained that he/she had already contacted the senator representing his/her state. And that trying to contact the chairman or the ranking member of the SFRC was almost impossible. The offices wanted to know if you’re a constituent before they talk to you. I can understand the need for this when it comes to the individual offices of the senators. But the Committee has its own staff; can’t they – you know, assign a catch-all email or a fax number for the interested public?
Related Post: SFRC Website Make Over - When?