Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with people during a book signing on June 10, 2014 in New York, N.Y.
Photo by Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Hillary Clinton to present journalism award


Former secretary of state and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has had a rocky relationship with the press in the past, will present a prestigious journalism award in late March. 

The Tonor Prize, sponsored by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, honors the late Robin Toner, the first woman to be national political correspondent for The New York Times. Toner covered Clinton from her time as first lady through her presidential campaign. Toner died of cancer in 2008. 

“It’s an extraordinary pleasure to have Secretary Clinton as our speaker at this important event,” said Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham in a statement. “She is a vivid example – like Robin – of a pioneering woman at the top of her profession.”

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Vice President Joe Biden presented the award last year, where he spoke about his respect for Toner and other journalists. 

Toner’s widower, Washington journalist Peter Gosselin, secured Clinton’s participation by writing a letter to Clinton asking her attend. He has worked hard to keep his wife’s memory alive through a journalism program at the university. ”There’s no money to offer,” he told The Washington Post, noting Clinton will not be paid for the appearance.

Toner’s brother, Mark, is a Foreign Service Officer who served as deputy spokesperson at the State Department under Clinton.

Clinton has had a famously difficult relationship with the press, and the address to journalists could serve as an olive branch to reporters as the former secretary of state prepares for an increasingly likely presidential run.

When she moved into the White House, Clinton sealed off the corridor that allowed reporters to access the West Wing (the move was later overturned) and then fought battle after battle with press as they investigated alleged scandals in the White House. During her presidential campaign, Clinton allies believed the press was in the tank for Barack Obama, and press handers were known to yell at and insult reporters. “Look, she hates you. Period. That’s never going to change,” one unnamed Clinton veteran told Politico last year.

The event is currently the latest item on Clinton’s public calendar. An announcement about her 2016 plans is expected for late spring, perhaps early April.