The announcement was made Friday at the 12th National Conference in Denver. Mr. Smith is the third recipient of the award that focuses on excellence over the range of skills and contributions in editing.
The society is a professional organization dedicated to improving the quality of journalism and the working lives of journalists, according to the group's Web site.
A panel of seven judges noted that Mr. Smith's "all-around excellence in editing, design, project work, deadline skills and education/outreach impressed the judges, who couldn't find a hole in his game. While the other candidates were strong, Adam quickly rose to the top of each judge's first ballot."
In the 10 years Mr. Smith has worked at The Chronicle , he has complemented his daily editing skills by updating the newspaper's stylebook, creating headline-writing guides and producing The WriteThru , an in-house style publication that points out editing successes and failures.
"Adam's creativity ... sets him apart," Chronicle Presentation Editor Traci Long said. "He is not afraid to take editing risks, within text and in design, which consistently inject our pages with personality and an element of surprise."
Mr. Smith is considered a major contributor to The Chronicle 's award-winning Masters Tournament coverage, both as a coordinator for the Masters preview and daily sections and in his creation of a day-in-review page, which combines graphic elements and synopses to recap each day on the golf course.
Chronicle News Editor John Gogick's description of Mr. Smith in a letter of recommendation captures the focus of the Robinson Prize: "Adam resolves conflicts, makes copy better, writes great heads, takes risks with design, enforces style and uses sound, well-reasoned news judgment. The most important thing he does: Uphold our standard, 'Think like readers, act like editors.' "