Ready or not, Hillary Clinton is still scheduled to headline a political journalism award ceremony this month in Washington, D.C. — where she’ll face reporters who in recent weeks have written story after story detailing her potentially illegal email habits and her charitable foundation’s controversial funding sources.
Organizers of 2015 Toner Prize Celebration, named for late New York Times political reporter Robin Toner, say Clinton’s recent string of controversies have not affected her participation at the March 23 gathering at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
While Clinton has previously received six-figure speaking fees at college sponsored events, transferring the money to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, “she’s doing this one pro bono,” Toner’s husband, Peter Gosselin, confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity.
Gosselin, himself a Bloomberg reporter, says that while Clinton does not plan to take questions, the event will be open to all press, not just those paying $250 per ticket to attend.
“It’s going to stop being an awards ceremony if she makes any news — everyone will exit the room and start writing,” Gosselin joked. “Journalists will be journalists.”
Toner and Gosselin came to know Clinton during their many years reporting on politics, and Gosselin asked her to headline this year’s award dinner, he said.
Previous winners of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting include Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post, Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker and Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic.
The award ceremony is sponsored by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where Toner attended college.
The prize “recognizes the best national or local political reporting in any medium or on any platform.”
In a January press release announcing Clinton’s participation, Newhouse School Dean Lorraine Branham said, “It’s an extraordinary pleasure to have Secretary Clinton as our speaker at this important event … she is a vivid example — like Robin — of a pioneering woman at the top of her profession.”
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