Pioneering TV journalist Gwen Ifill died on Monday at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer.
Gwen Ifill is best known for her outstanding journalism as host of Washington Week in Review and co-host of PBS Newshour. She covered seven presidential campaigns over the course of her career and served as the debate moderator in the vice presidential debates between John Edwards and Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. She recently moderated a debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries.
Ifill graduated from Simmons College in 1977 and began her career as a print journalist for The Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald America. She went onto become a political reporter for The Washington Post and a White House Correspondent for The New York Times before taking over Washington Week in Review in 1999. She was the first African American woman to host a prominent political television show. As anchor, she led discussions analyzing events in the capital.
“When I was a little girl watching programs like this — because that’s the kind of nerdy family we were — I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color,” Gwen said. “I’m very keen about the fact that a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy [Woodruff] sitting side by side, it will occur to them that that’s perfectly normal — that it won’t seem like any big breakthrough at all.”
Friends and colleagues remember her exploding smile, integrity, and confidence.