Posted on December 13, 2008
If Robin Toner and I were to sit at a bar and have a long discussion about politics and political philosophy, we probably wouldn’t agree on much.
She was a liberal and she really didn’t try to hide it much.
But she was a true pro when it came to her line of work, journalism, and she was passionate about her craft.
She made sure that she got the story right, no matter what her opinions were.
I was taking to one of her colleagues this morning, and he told me what I already knew. She wouldn’t rely on one source for her stories (which is kind of the fashion these days). She would rely on twenty.
She would work her butt off, and she wasn’t shy about making the phone calls and do the reporting to get that story right.
I knew Robin when she covered health care policy and the Congress for the New York Times. She was always very professional and while persistent, she was also very pleasant.
I liked her a lot and I am sad that she has left us. She died earlier this week from complications of cancer. In all likelihood, her cancer was misdiagnosed early on, a medical error from a health care system that she tried so hard to cover (and change) from her reporting.
Journalism, as a craft, is under assault from market forces that seem beyond its control. Let us hope that the future of journalism has room in it for true professionals like Robin Toner. She was a class act and she will be missed by her colleagues, and by readers who may not have known her, but grew to depend on her to get the story right for them.