Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Archive for October 3rd, 2008

DorobekInsider: House members can post to YouTube

leave a comment »

I told you earlier the House rules prevented Representatives from posting to YouTube. The Senate had reached an agreement earlier allowing the senators to post to YouTube.

Well, the House has reached an agreement too, NextGov’s Andrew Noyes reports.

Committee adopts new third-party Web site regulations [, 10.03.2008]

Members of the House will be permitted to use third-party Web sites like YouTube to communicate with constituents as long as the content is for official purposes, and not personal, commercial or campaign communication, according to rules adopted Thursday by the House Administration Committee.

The rules are seen by House Administration Chairman Robert Brady as a compromise between several proposals under consideration in recent months and are closely aligned with those circulated by the Senate Rules Committee last week.

One plan by Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., who chairs the commission charged with drafting the language for the Administration Committee, was slammed by Minority Leader Boehner in July as “an attack on free speech.”

House Administration ranking member Vernon Ehlers and Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Tom Price, R-Ga., drafted alternate language, which formed the basis for the changes that won committee approval. Ehlers said Brady “demonstrated outstanding leadership.”

“These new guidelines are a step in the right direction for a Congress that has been behind the technological curve for too long,” Boehner said. “By encouraging the use of emerging and established new media tools, Congress is sending the message that we want to speak to citizens, and receive feedback, in the most open and accessible manner possible.”

Continue reading

Written by cdorobek

October 3, 2008 at 10:09 PM

DorobekInsider: More on EPA’s Radon government 2.0 experiment

with 4 comments

Earlier, I told you about EPA’s wonderfully simple yet wonderfully innovative radon initiative. Rather then just having the EPA go out and make a public service announcement, they let users do it — and then selected the winner.

I have some additional information.

First off, I have posted the instructions and directions that were provided to people — it might make a good starting point for other agencies thinking about this kind of experiment.

On my previous post, I included the video that won, but you can also see the runners up.

The Unwanted Guest

A Radon Story

and Radon Information Video

It’s a great idea and EPA deserves a lot of credit for having the fortitude to give away some of their control and involve others.

Speaking personally, I now know a lot more about radon then I ever did.

Written by cdorobek

October 3, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Posted in Government 2.0

Tagged with ,

DorobekInsider: EPA ahead in govt 2.0 — again… this time it’s radon

with 8 comments

Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

The Environmental Protection Agency has really been at the forefront of testing out government 2.0 initiatives. I am a huge fan of EPA CIO Molly O’Neill, who is one of the best and most innovative IT leaders out there. But O’Neill has help — EPA’s Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock is one of the most forward looking senior leaders I’ve seen in government. And I think EPA is a wonderful model for precisely how to try these government 2.0 initiatives — you don’t jump into the deep end of the pool. You experiment. You empower the people who are excited by it and that excitement is infectious throughout the organization.

EPA, of course, has a unique challenge because they have to collaborate with so many people — within EPA, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, with other government agencies, with environmental groups, with communities concerned about their particular environmental question. They need to be transparent.

They also depend on data from many different sources — state and local governments, other agencies, the private sector…

So the government 2.0 tools seem to be a great way of reaching out to all of these different organizations. (Read about EPA’s very inovative initiative dealing with Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. FCW’s story here… and the white paper that EPA wrote up about the project can be found here.

Well, EPA has another government 2.0 coup — this time, an initiative focusing on on radon. (EPA’s radon page here.)

The challenge: Educate a whole new generation about the dangers or radon.

So rather then just creating their own public service announcement, EPA featured a contest where people created content using sites like YouTube.

No shock here: It was a tough sell within the agency. I haven’t yet spoken to the brains behind this idea, Jeremy Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division. But I have no doubt that there were concerns about giving up control of the message.

But by just about any measure, it has been an enormous success. The project was done on a shoestring budget — and got people involved. And, perhaps you will think about radon — maybe at least visit the EPA radon page — — so you really know what it is?

Here is the winning video:

Ames also created a social network where government, community, and citizens discuss radon. Find that at (My favorite headline on there right now: What happens in Las Vegas will not stay in Las Vegas.)

We’re working on getting Ames on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. I’ll let you know when we get it nailed down.

Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

Written by cdorobek

October 3, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Posted in Government 2.0

Tagged with , ,