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Call for entries: Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting

December 05, 2011

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Entries for the $5,000 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting 2011 are now being accepted by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Deadline for entries is Jan. 14, 2012. Entries should be submitted online at

The Toner Prize recognizes outstanding political reporting in a tribute to the late Robin Toner ’76, who was the first national political correspondent for The New York Times. Toner was a summa cum laude graduate of SU with dual degrees in journalism and political science.

“The Toner Prize is meant to encourage the high standards of factual, illuminating and accurate reporting that Robin’s work epitomized,” says Charlotte Grimes, the Newhouse School’s Knight Chair in Political Reporting. “This is a continuing celebration of her life and work to support the kind of political reporting that strengthens American journalism and American democracy.”

The Toner Prize will go to the best national or local political reporting on any platform—print, broadcast or online. Entries must be fact-based reporting, not commentary. Single articles, series or a body of work are eligible. The work must have been published, posted or broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011.

Entries will be judged on how well they reflect the high standards and depth of reporting that marked Toner’s work. In particular, the judges will look for how well the entries illuminate the electoral process or reveal the politics of policy, and engage the public in democracy.

The prize will be presented at the Toner Symposium on March 26 at SU.

The inaugural Toner Prize for coverage in 2010 went to Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic. He won for an eight-part series on Arizona’s broken and expensive public pension plan, which cost taxpayers nearly $1.4 billion each year. Honorable mentions for the Toner Prize also went to Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker and Sebastian Jones and Marcus Stern of ProPublica. The national competition drew more than 100 entries from news organizations across the country.

tonerThe Toner Prize is part of the Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting, run by the Newhouse School and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Toner’s family, friends and classmates created the Robin Toner Endowed Fund to raise $1 million in support of the program.

In her journalism career, Toner spent nearly 25 years with the New York Times, for which she covered five presidential campaigns, scores of congressional and gubernatorial races and most of the country’s major political and policy issues. Toner died in December 2008.

For more information, contact Grimes at (315) 443-2366 or

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