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SU establishes endowment to honor late New York Times political correspondent Robin Toner, support political reporting

November 02, 2009

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

With a lead gift of $100,000 from John Chapple ’75, Syracuse University has established the Robin Toner Endowment in celebration of the life and work of the acclaimed late New York Times political correspondent Robin Toner ’76. The announcement was made by Lorraine Branham, dean of SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, following the recent Robin Toner Symposium hosted by the Newhouse School and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Toner“Our goal is to accomplish two things,” says Branham. “First: to celebrate and remember Robin and her outstanding work as a political journalist. Second: to focus attention on the critical importance of political reporting by recognizing high-quality political journalism of the immediate past and encouraging high-quality political journalism in the immediate future. Now, more than ever, this kind of fact-based reporting on politics and policy is essential. Our nation’s political discourse has been overtaken by shouting, commentary, rumor and tweets; real reporting is harder and harder to find. We hope to strengthen the kind of political reporting that Robin was known for—the kind of journalism that nurtures democracy, the kind that pursues the news of politics without fear or favor.”

Noted 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 almost 25 years at the Times, she reported on almost every domestic issue and played a significant role in the coverage of five presidential elections. A summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, she passed away in December 2008.

Chapple, president of Hawkeye Investments LLC and chair of the SU Board of Trustees, was a classmate and longtime friend of Toner.

The endowment is expected to include an annual lecture or symposium and an award for outstanding political reporting of the past year, as well as possible support for innovative coverage in the coming year.

“Robin would have loved to weigh in on the discussions and coverage the endowment will support,” says Toner’s husband, former Los Angeles Times chief economic correspondent Peter Gosselin. “She’d be skeptical at first about having her name on the endowment, but what I’d tell her is, she’s had a career of bylines—and this is one more.”

“Our family is deeply grateful to John Chapple and Lorraine Branham for their leadership in forming the endowment. We are grateful to Syracuse University for offering it such a fitting home.”

For more information about the Robin Toner Endowment, contact Charlotte Grimes at (315) 443-2366 or cgrimes@syr.edu.

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