Dinner to Honor Robin Toner Tonight

Family and friends of Robin Toner will gather tonight to honor her memory and watch as the Toner Prize is awarded. The event is part of The Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

The prize comes with $5,000 and is named for Robin, a graduate of Syracuse University and the first woman to be national political correspondent for the NYT.

Robin’s twins, 15-year-old Nora and Jacob, are going to hand out the award and announce the honorable mentions. Many of Toner’s reporter friends will be coming into town to attend the dinner. It’s been an entire election cycle since she died in 2008. The 2012 election was the first without a Robin Toner byline since before 1980.

HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelious will speak. Those expected to attend include: Jill Abramson, executive editor, NYT; Rick Berke of the NYT; Janet Elder, deputy managing editor, NYT; David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief, NYT; Marty Baron, executive editor of WaPo; Tom Edsall, formerly of WaPo and now professor of journalism at Columbia University; Dan Balz and Karen Tumulty of WaPo, Mike McCurry, former WH press secretary; Larry Kramer, publisher of USA Today; Andrea Mitchell, NBC News; Jerry Seib, WSJ, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

The dinner is being held at the Barbara Jordan Conference Center at the Kaiser Family Foundation in downtown Washington. A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner.

Judging for the prize…

involved 33 veteran journalists, most now teaching journalism at universities. They served on 11 juries to recommend finalists. The Toner Prize and honorable-mention recognition were awarded by the five finalist judges:

Adam Clymer, formerly chief Washington correspondent for NYT and a member of the Toner Program Fundraising Committee; Maralee Schwartz, a 30-year veteran journalist of WaPo and its former national political editor; Bill Celis, a former correspondent for both NYT and WSJ and now associate director of the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California; Richard Ciccone, a former managing editor and political editor of The Chicago Tribune who now teaches a journalism course at the University of Notre Dame; and Karen Dunlap, a journalist and journalism educator for more than 30 years and is now president of The Poynter Institute.