Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair in Political Reporting and the administrator of the Toner Program in Political Reporting at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, wrote that the $5,000 prize is named after the late Robin Toner, “the first woman to be national political correspondent of The New York Times.”
Tumulty of The Washington Post won the Toner Prize for her engaging reporting on politicians, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as well as her in-depth look at the political landscape in West Virginia. A standout of her coverage was a poignant profile of a Vietnam war veteran, Earl Smith, who gave his 101st Airborne screaming eagle patch to then-Sen. Barack Obama as he campaigned for the presidency. Her work, as one judge described it, shows “great breadth of reporting, excellent looks at politics from ground level, marries politics and humanity.”
Jennifer Davidson, a reporter and producer at KSMU public radio, in Springfield, Mo., won an honorable mention for her reporting.