Washington Free Beacon Reporters Honored as Dao Prize Finalists For Excellence in Investigative Journalism

November 2, 2023

Washington Free Beacon reporters Andrew Kerr, Joseph Simonson, and Aaron Sibarium were honored as finalists for the inaugural Dao Prize, which recognizes excellence in investigative journalism.

The Dao Feng and Angela Foundation, in partnership with Young America's Foundation's National Journalism Center, bestowed the honor on the Free Beacon reporters Wednesday evening. The $100,000 award went to Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and Bari Weiss for their coverage of the Twitter files, while the two $10,000 finalist prizes went to Free Beacon scribes.

Kerr and Simonson were honored for their work exposing how Arabella Advisors, the sprawling left-wing dark-money network, creates the illusion of grassroots support for a host of causes.

"The Student Experience Research Network and hundreds of other left-wing activist groups like it are controlled from the top down by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy that plays an integral role in Democratic causes, fueled by donations from billionaires including George Soros and Pierre Omidyar," Kerr and Simonson wrote in one of their award-winning pieces.

"In fact, the Student Experience Research Network's ostensible employees don't even work there. … The average citizen would have no idea who's pulling the strings."

Sibarium earned the prize through his exposé on the American Academy of Pediatrics and its work to close schools during the coronavirus pandemic and facilitate the gender transition of teenagers.

"Founded in 1930 as an offshoot of the American Medical Association, the AAP is first and foremost a standard-setting body. … In recent years, it has also become a participant in America's culture wars," reads Sibarium's piece, titled, "The Hijacking of Pediatric Medicine."

"Though the organization's guidelines are framed as the consensus position of the AAP's members, only a handful of physicians had a role in shaping them. Instead, insiders say, the AAP is deferring to small, like-minded teams … rather than seeking the insights of pediatricians who see a wide cross-section of America's children."

The Dao Prize celebrates reporters who "hold elected officials accountable" and advance "the public interest through robust investigative work," with nominees judged on their "accuracy and courage," among other parameters.

"Too often, the media establishment celebrates work that protects power rather than challenging it," the National Journalism Center said when it announced the award in August. "The Dao Prize will honor truth above all else."

Other news outlets such as The Intercept were nominated for the award but received no honors.

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