Committee News is a reliable online, professional web site, that gives members of Congress, political campaign staff, media, and others up-to-the-minute information on what’s happening in the halls of Congress. This site also offers links to Capitol Hill Watch, a project of the Project on Congressional Research. The information on this site is frequently updated and may be found useful. Members of Congress are not always happy with the information provided on Committee News, though. Many state that it lacks sufficient substance to make use of, especially on a regular basis.
For example, while there was much discussion about the recent shooting at a congressional baseball practice, most of the stories neglected to mention that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- NV) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- CA) were injured in the incident. Neither has mentioned publicly whether or not they will be able to return to work on their own, after sustaining injuries. Similarly, Reporters had difficulty locating witnesses willing to talk about the use of secret congressional cameras to spy on the private activities of congressional Democrats. Yet another major controversy involved the revelation that Ranking Minority Leader Harry Reid received secret payments from Al Gore for his “Gore paid” Internet consulting work. No one will likely be able to confirm whether or not this is true, since there has been a thorough investigation into the matter by the House Permanent Select Committee on Accountability.
Although the Committee News website offers a lot of valuable information, it is largely ignored by members of Congress and their staff. While Committee News does have some good information, it is primarily geared toward news of interest to those who can gain access to high-level meetings. For example, much of the content is written about committees taking up important issues that affect the privacy of citizens. The site also has links to videos of certain hearings or newsmakers speaking offhand. Some of these videos show lawmakers making serious mistakes that end up being widely publicized. When such mistakes occur, it can damage the credibility of the entire body.
Another limitation is that the information is only available to people who are members of the committee. Thus, journalists may be able to write about them as well. However, journalists have reported that once they tried to find out more information, they were unable to find any information online. This means that those trying to access the information must be members of the committee in order to read it. The irony is that people seeking such information would most likely not have access to it otherwise.
Still, other news outlets have noted that Committee News has some advantages over similar websites. They note that the electronic format makes the material easier to read. It also seems that the information is well organized, which could help to make it more readable for those without technical experience. It is also easy to navigate, as the navigation links within the website to take the reader to specific information, rather than redirecting them to other parts of the site.
However, these benefits are also apparent to those who have political interests outside of the realm of elected officials. Those interested in local government and other elected official affairs could also profit from the information offered by Committee News. It provides a venue for discussing local government issues with people on a much more personal level. Whether or not these individuals plan to run for political office in the future remains to be seen.