2021 Toner Prizes Winners

2021 Toner Prize for Excellence in National Political Reporting

David A. Graham, The Atlantic

David A. Graham
David A. Graham

David A. Graham is a staff writer at The Atlantic covering national politics and elections. Under his editorship, The Atlantic’s politics section won a Webby Award. Before joining The Atlantic, he reported for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and he also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The National, in Abu Dhabi. Graham is based in Durham, North Carolina and teaches journalism at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy.

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

Jennifer Medina
Jennifer Medina

Jennifer Medina is a national politics reporter for The New York Times based in Los Angeles. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she focused on the political impact and dynamics of the West. Medina’s reporting examines how public policy impacts people’s lives. During her time in California, Medina focused on immigration, education and poverty. She also covered breaking news extensively, including several mass shootings. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in print journalism and political science, she joined the Times in 2002. She speaks Spanish and Hebrew.

2021 Toner Prize for Excellence in Local Political Reporting

LehighValleyLive.com Staff

Lehighvalleylive.com was born in 2006 as part of an ongoing effort to pivot The Express-Times newsroom from a traditional print operation to a digital one. The newspaper, based in Easton, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1855 and continues publishing daily. It remains affiliated with lehighvalleylive.com. Both are part of NJ Advance Media. The Lehigh Valley is now the third-most populous region in Pennsylvania. Its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia has made it a commerce hub and has also attracted many commuters. These trends have made for an intriguing political landscape that’s quickly becoming among the most purple in the nation.

2021 Toner Prizes Judges

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni
Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. She also serves as the director of the Annenberg Media Center student newsroom.

Over her 20 years in journalism, Bellantoni worked as a reporter and editor, behind the camera as a producer and in front of it as an analyst on national television. She has covered local, state and federal government, along with four presidential campaigns and the White House. At the Los Angeles Times, Bellantoni was an assistant managing editor. Under her leadership, the California politics team expanded and earned statewide recognition for innovative coverage of politics and for hard-hitting sexual harassment investigations that prompted two Assembly resignations and brought more transparency to California’s state capital. For 12 years, Bellantoni was a journalist in Washington, D.C., where she served as editor-in-chief of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call and was the political editor at the PBS NewsHour, among other roles.

Ann Compton

Ann Compton
Ann Compton

Ann Compton was the first woman assigned to cover the White House beat for network television. In her 41 years on the air for ABC News, she covered seven presidents and 10 presidential campaigns. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain on Air Force One with President George W. Bush to report on behalf of all the press during the chaotic hours following the terrorist attacks. Her coverage won special recognition awards, including an Emmy, a Peabody and the Silver Baton from the DuPont awards at Columbia University. She retired from ABC News in 2014. In fall 2016, she was a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, focusing on media coverage of the 2016 campaign. Compton grew up in Glencoe, Illinois. She and her husband, Dr. William Hughes, have three sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

Maralee Schwartz

Maralee Schwartz
Maralee Schwartz

Maralee Schwartz spent 30 years at The Washington Post, mainly as a political reporter and editor. As national political editor, she led an award-winning team of reporters in coverage that included three presidential elections of both the Clinton and Bush White House. She was a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2007. Schwartz left The Post in August 2008 to become the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer for the Practice of Press and Public Policy at the Kennedy School. She returned to The Post for several months in 2010 as interim political editor. She is a contributing editor at Columbia Journalism Review and an advisory board member of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Joseph B. Treaster

Joseph B. Treaster
Joseph B. Treaster

Joseph B. Treaster is a professor at the University of Miami’s School of Communication and a contributor to The New York Times and other publications. He was a reporter and foreign correspondent for The Times for more than 30 years before joining the University as the John S. Knight Chair in Cross Cultural Communication. Treaster has worked in nearly 100 countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He is the author of three books and has written for The Atlantic, Harper’s, Rolling Stone and other national magazines. He focuses on the environment, international affairs and the arts. He is a former Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Herbert Lowe

Herbert Lowe
Herbert Lowe

Herbert Lowe teaches courses on multimedia journalism and the intersection of race, sports and culture and directs the Summer Media Institute at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville. Lowe was formerly the journalism professional in residence and founding director of the Perry and Alicia O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, at the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee. A native of Camden, New Jersey, Lowe earned his B.A. and M.A. in journalism and communication from Marquette. He worked for 22 years as a reporter at several daily newspapers including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Newsday. Lowe is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists and former communications director for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.


2021 Toner Prize Jurors

Jeanne Abbott
University of Missouri

Caesar Andrews
University of Nevada-Reno

Ruby Bailey
University of Missouri

Lee Banville
University of Montana

Rebecca Blatt
Arizona State University

Sid Bedingfield
University of Minnesota

Ted Bridis
University of Florida

Jean Marie Brown
Texas Christian University

James Carroll
University of Maryland

Carolyn Click
University of South Carolina

Mel Coffee
University of Maryland

Sarah Cohen
Arizona State University

Steve Crane
Arizona State University

Doug Cumming
Washington and Lee University

Frank Currier
Syracuse University (ret)

Christopher Drew
Louisiana State University

Aileen Gallagher
Syracuse University

Gary Ghioto
University of North Texas

Chris Graves
University of North Texas

Roy Gutterman
Syracuse University

Mark Horvit
University of Missouri

Francine Huff
Florida A&M University

Athelia Knight
Georgetown University

Christina Leonard
Arizona State University

Rafael Lorente
University of Maryland

Suzanne Lysak
Chapman University

Judy Muller
University of Southern California

Jill Olmsted
American University

Rick Rodriguez
Arizona State University

Mary Rogus
Ohio University

Willa Seidenberg
University of Southern California

Cynthia Simmons
Pennsylvania State University

Marquita Smith
University of Mississippi

Ron Stodghill
University of Missouri

Gina Shelton
University of Arkansas

Patricia Thompson
University of Mississippi

Lydia Timmins
University of Delaware

Judith Watson
City University of New York

Yumi Wilson
San Francisco State University