Toner Prize seeks entries for outstanding political reporting

November 25, 2013

Award honors late Newhouse alumna and former New York Times correspondent, deadline for nominations is Jan. 19

Entries for the $5,000 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting for 2013 are now being accepted by the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Entries can be submitted online at Deadline is Jan. 19, 2014.

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 SU with a dual degree in journalism and political science.

“We’re delighted to celebrate democracy and good journalism with the Toner Prize,” says Charlotte Grimes, Newhouse’s Knight Chair in Political Reporting and administrator of The Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting. “This will be our fourth year awarding the prize and we look forward to again honoring the kind of extraordinary reporting that was a hallmark of the work of Robin Toner.”

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, 2013.

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.

Past Toner Prize recipients include 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 (2012); Jane Mayer of The New Yorker for her in-depth look at a prominent political donor’s influence on North Carolina politics (2011); and Craig Harris of The Arizona Republic for an eight-part series on Arizona’s broken and expensive public pension plan (2010).

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 Grimes at 315-443-2366 or