the budget and new media

I spent most of today immersed in the details of the federal budget.  (And as far as I can tell, no one has posted it in ereader format yet.  On the other hand, NASA is starting to post its histories as ebooks.)  I’ll post about substance later in the week, but for now I want to comment about the differences between the Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labor presentations.

HHS basically took an old media approach.  There was a press conference.  Anyone who wasn’t credentialed press could watch in a different room, over a closed-circuit TV, or via webcast, or could listen in on a phone line, but could not ask questions.  HHS has posted the transcript of Sebelius’ prepared remarks, but not of the Q and A session, and if there’s archived video of the conference, I couldn’t find it.

Labor did a live webchat, which is archived on the site. Anyone — press or otherwise — could submit a question, via the chat window, email, phone, or twitter.  And it’s clear, from the questions, that some were submitted by press, some by advocates, some by people running programs, and some by the general public.  I don’t know who Solis had in the room with her, but it seemed to me that the answers were much more substantive than in the HHS Q and A session.

I’d love to know who makes the decisions about how to run these events.

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