Dao Prize Acceptance Speech
I was a little nervous in Washington last night, so my speech didn’t come out exactly like this, but this is the address I prepared, for acceptance of the $100,000 Dao Prize for Excellence in Investigative Journalism:
Thank you. As many of you know, it’s been a long year for those of us who worked on this story. To be recognized with such a significant award means a great deal to me and to the other recipients, Bari Weiss of The Free Press and Michael Shellenberger of Public, on whose behalf I’ll try to speak tonight.
More than two dozen reporters worked on the Twitter Files at different times, including Lee Fang, Paul Thacker, David Zweig, Aaron Maté, Matt Farwell, and many others, across the political spectrum. Journalists from left-leaning publications and reporters with conservative backgrounds both worked on this story, which was unique enough to employ pseudonymous citizen journalists like “Techno Fog” and Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Schmidt. Susan is here tonight, and has a new Twitter Files piece coming out on Twitter and Racket in the coming days.
To the National Journalism Center and the Dao Feng and Angela Foundation: I could not be more grateful that you’ve chosen to create such a significant new prize for old-school, fact-based reporting. The journalism profession has become hopelessly politicized in recent years. Editors now care more about narrative than fact, and as many of the people in this room know, there are now fairly extreme penalties for failing to toe party lines. This begins with pressures within the business to conform and continues with algorithmic targeting of advertisers of the sort that the Washington Examiner and its excellent reporter Gabe Kaminsky, who’s here tonight, reported on.
Most of these algorithmic penalties are based on a complex credentialing system, a process Google calls “surfacing authoritative content.” This basically mean
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