Newhouse announces the winners of the 2023 Washington DC Toner Awards

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Syracuse University on Wednesday announced Politico and Phil Williams of Nashville WTVF-TV as winners of the 2023 Newhouse School of Public Communications Toner Awards for Excellence in Political Reporting.

The Toner Awards, established in 2009, honor the late Newhouse graduate Robin Toner, the first woman to be a national political correspondent for The New York Times. Two categories of winners, local and national reporting, receive the awards each year for excellence in political reporting. Both winners will receive a $5,000 prize.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney delivered the keynote address for this year’s event Monday at the Washington, DC Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center — which was the first in-person presentation of the toner awards since 2019.

Politico won the national reporting award for its The Supreme Court and Abortion project, which began in May 2022 when the publication refuted the Supreme Court’s draft advisory opinion to set the 50-year-old precedent in Roe v. pick up calf. The project documents the sequence of events leading up to Roe’s overthrow and tracking the impact of the decision leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.

“It was the political story of the year, and the extraordinary leak resonated nationally and locally, upsetting women and demonstrating just how much conservatives have shaped the judiciary,” said Maralee Schwartz, 2023 Toner Awards Judge and retired political editor of The Washington Post , in the publication. “It has opened the window on how the Supreme Court works, highlighting in particular silent conflicts of interest.”

A joint submission by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune for their project titled “Church Politics,” which examined the activity of churches in politics, received an honorable mention for national coverage.

Williams received his award in recognition of his reporting on the legislative process in the Tennessee General Assembly. His project NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Revealed examined the structure of the Tennessee legislature and the power of its supermajority, meaning Republicans can more easily pass legislation.

In the publication, Christina Bellantoni, a professor at the University of Southern California, praised the way Williams was able to clearly convey such a complicated legislative system to his audience.

“It’s so hard to get into the secretive world of campaign money and lobbying in a state capital — and almost impossible to do on video,” Bellantoni wrote in the press release. “But somehow Phil Williams managed to do just that in this brilliant series that sheds light on the practices of state legislatures.”

Over 250 people attended the ceremony. In addition to Romney, speakers included SU Chancellor Kent Syverud, Newhouse Dean Mark Lodato and Margaret Taley, Director of the SU Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship.

In his keynote address, reported that Romney addressed a loss of confidence in the mainstream media and recognized how the declining number of news publications is making it more difficult for elected officials to engage with their constituencies.

“As democracy dies in darkness, we count on you and those honored tonight who have shown us the way to help shine the light of truth on our public electorate,” Romney said, according to Syracuse in his speech .com.


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