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SU symposium to honor the late New York Times political correspondent Robin Toner, examine political reporting in digital age

October 14, 2009

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

The life and work of the late, acclaimed New York Times political correspondent Robin Toner ’76 and the changing nature of political reporting are the subjects of a symposium hosted by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs on Tuesday, Oct. 27, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU pay lots.

TonerNoted for her relentless approach, meticulous work and elegant delivery, Toner was the first woman to hold the position of national political correspondent for The New York Times. In a career of nearly 25 years at the Times, she reported on almost every domestic issue and played a significant role in the coverage of five presidential elections.

“Robin Toner is a role model and an inspiration for young journalists,” says Charlotte Grimes, the Newhouse School’s Knight Chair of Political Reporting and one of the organizers of the symposium. “Her career and achievements remind us that journalism’s highest calling is to support democracy through meticulous reporting that illuminates politics and public policy.”

A summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, Toner grew up in Pennsylvania and started her reporting career in West Virginia. She was married to Peter Gosselin and was the mother of twins. She passed away in December 2008. At the time of her death, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy described her as “a reporter’s reporter who cared deeply about the people and the issues she covered.”

 The Robin Toner Symposium will begin at 1 p.m. with welcoming remarks from Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham, followed by a tribute video on Toner’s life and work.

 At 1:30 p.m., Jill Abramson and Richard Berke, managing editor and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, respectively, will deliver the keynote address.

 At 2 p.m., a panel discussion on “Political and Public Policy Reporting: Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Age” will include panelists Dan Balz, national political correspondent for The Washington Post; Jackie Calmes, economics reporter for The New York Times; Beth Frerking, assistant managing editor in charge of partnerships for POLITICO; Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”; and Adam Nagourney, chief political correspondent for The New York Times. Grimes and Robert McClure, the Chapple Family Professor of Citizenship and Democracy in the Maxwell School, will serve as panel moderators.

 A reception will follow.

 The event will be webcast live at

For more information about the Robin Toner Symposium, contact Charlotte Grimes at (315) 443-2366 or

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