It may take an Act of Congress to overhaul that Senate Committee on Foreign Relations website, but the Senate desperately needs to do it. With all due respect to the webmaster on the Committee and to Committee Chairman John Kerry and Ranking Member Richard Lugar, the SFRC website sucks!
I have been looking at this site for years and years, and it just doesn’t change. This is the way the site looked during the 2005 John Bolton hearings – and it is probably the way it looked in 1995.
In contrast, the State Department has given its website a spiffy new look. So, to the White House which has imported those sweeping blues from the Obama campaign site.
Maybe Joe Biden wanted to get into the Executive Branch so badly because he wanted to escape his bad website on the Committee he previously chaired. (joking)
I once compared what one could then surmise about the executive skill sets of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in how they deployed their resources as legislators. I was surprised to learn then that now President Obama had not chaired a European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but found that Clinton had been active during her presidential campaign efforts in chairing a number of hearings of the Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. Clinton’s hearings were all posted as digital video clips on the site.
Compare the Environment & Public Works Site to the Foreign Relations Committee site.
Something has to be done.
To give some credit, it is great that the Committee and John Kerry have arranged for live, real-time viewing of hearings over the website, but honestly — where are the digital files for later viewing??
The hearings for James Steinberg and Jacob Lew were quite interesting. I attended and would really like to review a statement that Steinberg made, but unless the tape is hidden in a Members only, secret access section of the Committee site, that live streaming that we taxpayers helped pay for is not accessible.
So, time for an overhaul. This is a friendly nudge to friends on the Committee, both sides of the aisle, who should use the SFRC site to create a bigger platform and chamber for their work.
In fact, if I don’t hear from the Committee this week that SOMETHING different is in the works, I’m going to organize a Facebook page “A Million Strong Against the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Website.” Seriously. . .I will.
— Steve Clemons
Update: This from a staff friend of mine who knows some of behind the scenes stuff on a number of cool US Senate committees
Good post today. That website has indeed remained the very same since at least 2001. What I always found the most amusing was the photos of the Members – Biden’s photo was from the late 70’s when he had a full head of hair, and the photos of the other Senators are also incredibly dated.
Please note, however, that the Committee has no “Webmaster”. The website is maintained by an early 20s staff assistant who has not been given direction by his/her superiors that the website should be a priority. Hopefully, your post will provide some motivation.
P.S. There is no secret, Members-only section. Some of us staff would also enjoy the ability to review tape of past hearings …
— Steve Clemons