CIO Council debuts Webcast

CIO Council's first Webcast

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With motion as jerky as a strobe-lit disco and a soundtrack that's the slow

drone of bureaucracy, the CIO Council had its video debut on the World Wide

Web.

The council, which is composed of the chief information officers of the

federal government's major agencies, has posted two segments of its Nov.

15 meeting on the Internet for the world to view. In the first 48 hours,

at least 38 people did so and responded to an online poll: 31 said the broadcast

is valuable and they would like to see more; five rated it somewhat valuable;

two said they will never come back.

In this instance, the medium is the message. The novelty is that the CIO

Council, a body that guides electronic government development, recorded

part of its meeting and posted the recording on the Internet. Ordinarily,

the council's meetings are closed to the public and the council conducts

its business in secret.

The Webcast sheds little light on the council's operations, however. The

parts of the meeting that can be viewed are virtually devoid of news.

Sally Katzen, the council chairwoman, plows through an "update" on FirstGov

that mainly rehashes month-old information, and John Dyer, co-chairman of

the E-Government Committee, discusses the results of a survey of online

services provided by government agencies.

Dyer reports that federal agencies are moving away from simply presenting

information on the Internet and are increasingly performing transactions.

Thirty percent of the services provided to the public and 50 percent provided

to businesses involve some sort of transaction. "We are doing a lot more

than you think we are," he concluded.

Jim Flyzik, vice chairman of the CIO Council, pronounced the Webcast a breakthrough

in electronic government. "We are practicing what we preach" about getting

more of government online, he said.

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