Call for entries: Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting

December 5, 2018

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is now accepting entries for the $5,000 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. Entries can be submitted online at tonerprogram.syr.edu. Deadline is Jan. 21, 2019.

The Toner Prize recognizes outstanding political reporting in a tribute to the late Robin Toner ’76, who was the first woman to serve as national political correspondent for The New York Times. Toner was a summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University.

The Toner Prize will go to the best national or local U.S. 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 reported and published, posted or broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.

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.

Last year’s Toner Prize recipient was a team of Washington Post journalists—Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard, Alice Crites, Shawn Boburg, Aaron Davis, Tom LeGro and Dalton Bennett—for their reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Other past recipients include David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post for his coverage of then-candidate Donald Trump’s charities; Alec MacGillis of ProPublica for a series of stories on the workings of politics and government; Dan Balz of The Washington Post for a series of political profiles that illuminated the partisan divide in Washington; Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post for her reporting on politicians and her in-depth look at the political landscape in West Virginia; Molly Ball of The Atlantic for her reporting on the 2012 election, including coverage of the presidential candidates and the campaign around gay-marriage referenda in four states; Jane Mayer of The New Yorker for her in-depth look at a prominent political donor’s influence on North Carolina politics; and Craig Harris of The Arizona Republic for an eight-part series on Arizona’s broken and expensive public pension plan.

The Toner Prize is part of the Newhouse School’s Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting. Toner’s family, friends and classmates are raising $1 million for the Robin Toner Endowment to support the program.

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

For more information, contact Charlotte Grimes at cgrimes@syr.edu.