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Ranch State and CitizenSpace: Digital Democracy and Web Strategies for the United States and the United Kingdom
Unformatted Document Text:  16 Davis and Owens (1998) criteria for computer mediated political communication: accessing information, links between public officials and citizens, and forums for political discussions. Public Opinion measurement is not obvious to a content analysis of the website. These criteria correspond to the dimensions of input vs. output frameworks offered by Hagen (2000) and Musso, Weare, and Hale (1999) – which reflect both horizontal and vertical channels for communication. The website for the United States Department of State ( www.state.gov ) and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office ( www.fco.gov.uk ) were evaluated one how they delivered on Davis and Owens criteria. Evidence included site content information (general content focus and links to related content) and functionality (interactivity, user feedback capacity, organization and link structure). From this information – each site was determined to have either an input or output focus and facilitated either horizontal, vertical, or both forms of communication between citizens, interest groups, and government officials. Department of State The Department of State website is clearly targeted towards the one-way dissemination of information to the general public. Reviewing the site contents and functionality, the site displayed the following characteristics: Accessing Information: The site clearly is designed around access to a variety of information on foreign affairs. The site is organized in such as way that provides substantial information regarding the organization and administration of the Department, information about international affairs in general, services to both business and individual citizens, and up-to-date records of press events tracked by the State Department. Of the 10 main content headings, only two (Business Center, Travel and Living Abroad, and Other services) provide any sort of information regarding public service delivery. Links Between public officials and citizens: Much like previous criticisms of public websites (Musso, et al, 1999) – the State Department website functions primarily as departmental

Authors: Hayden, Craig.
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16
Davis and Owens (1998) criteria for computer mediated political communication: accessing
information, links between public officials and citizens, and forums for political discussions.
Public Opinion measurement is not obvious to a content analysis of the website. These criteria
correspond to the dimensions of input vs. output frameworks offered by Hagen (2000) and
Musso, Weare, and Hale (1999) – which reflect both horizontal and vertical channels for
communication. The website for the United States Department of State (
www.state.gov
) and the
United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (
www.fco.gov.uk
) were evaluated one how
they delivered on Davis and Owens criteria. Evidence included site content information (general
content focus and links to related content) and functionality (interactivity, user feedback capacity,
organization and link structure). From this information – each site was determined to have either
an input or output focus and facilitated either horizontal, vertical, or both forms of
communication between citizens, interest groups, and government officials.
Department of State
The Department of State website is clearly targeted towards the one-way dissemination of
information to the general public. Reviewing the site contents and functionality, the site displayed
the following characteristics:
Accessing Information: The site clearly is designed around access to a variety of
information on foreign affairs. The site is organized in such as way that provides substantial
information regarding the organization and administration of the Department, information about
international affairs in general, services to both business and individual citizens, and up-to-date
records of press events tracked by the State Department. Of the 10 main content headings, only
two (Business Center, Travel and Living Abroad, and Other services) provide any sort of
information regarding public service delivery.
Links Between public officials and citizens: Much like previous criticisms of public
websites (Musso, et al, 1999) – the State Department website functions primarily as departmental


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