Syracuse University Magazine

Toner Prize Awarded

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President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the Newhouse School’s Toner Prize Celebration in March in Washington, D.C., where Alec MacGillis of ProPublica was awarded the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Journalism.

“Journalism at its best is indispensable,” Obama said. “Not in some abstract sense of nobility, but in the very concrete sense that real people depend on you to uncover the truth. Deep reporting, the informed questioning, the in-depth stories—the kind of journalism that we honor today—matters more than ever and, by the way, lasts longer than some slapdash Tweet that slips off our screens in the blink of an eye, that may get more hits today, but won’t stand up to the test of time. That’s the only way that our democracy can work.”

MacGillis won for “The Breakdown,” a collection of stories that, among other issues, revealed the influence of the oil industry and other corporations on public policy; examined the reasons that some voters make political choices that many analysts consider against those voters’ own interests; and showed that many assumptions about politics and governance no longer hold true.

The $5,000 Toner Prize is given annually by the Newhouse School in memory of late alumna Robin Toner ’76, who was the first woman to serve as national political correspondent for The New York Times.     —Wendy S. Loughlin

Photo by Steve Sartori