Government web managers are struggling to keep the balance of “mission” and “message” on their websites. Public affairs shops understandably want to use the web to promote the initiatives and successes of the agency. But citizens really come to government websites to find the services they offer. Web managers are challenged to make sure all of those needs are addressed.
Maybe a new website is the answer. I know - I'm one who complains about too many websites. But maybe - by creating just one more - we could eliminate the need for new websites for every new initiative. Maybe we should create: USANews.gov.
USANews.gov could hold the news releases from all agencies, sorted by agency and topic. It would be similar in concept to USAJobs, which holds all government vacancy announcements.
There are a number of advantages to having a single news website:
- Political leaders and agency public affairs offices could promote one single web source for all government news, instead of promoting an array of separate news websites.
- News agencies and citizens would have one place to find all current government news.
- Citizens and reporters could search all current news by topic, easily.
- By removing news items from the agency websites (particularly, home pages), agency web managers could use that prized front page space to feature services that the agency provides for citizens. A link will get visitors to agency news on USANews (just as we currently link to agency job announcements on USAJobs).
- Public affairs offices could post news releases directly to USANews. For some agencies, that could eliminate steps and get news posted more quickly.
USANews could be owned by the White House or OMB or it could be an interagency portal, run by a council of public affairs officers.
USAJobs is a good example of the value of putting common information on a single website. USANews could be a real plus for the government and for the public.