In a time where we complain about news coverage, broadcast journalism, and anchors become more of a story than the news itself, Gwen Ifill was a breath of
fresh sensible air.
Growing up, I was a 4-channel kid, 2, 5, 7, and 12 – NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. We would more so be tuned into the three major networks for news, usually NBC, but as the years went on, I came to respect PBS news. Even though some would say all news stations promote one side over the other, I respected PBS news to be a little less of one way or another. It seemed honest and open and very different than the big three. One of those voices that would resonate through the screen from PBS was Gwen Ifill.
She will be missed.
Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most prominently, PBS, died on Monday at a hospice in Washington. She was 61.
The cause was complications of uterine cancer, her brother Roberto said.
In a distinguished career, Ms. Ifill was in the forefront of a journalism vanguard as a black woman in a field dominated by white men.
She achieved her highest visibility most recently, as the moderator and managing editor of the public affairs program “Washington Week” on PBS and the co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of “NewsHour,” competing with the major broadcast and cable networks for the nightly news viewership. They were the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news.
Last spring, she and Ms. Woodruff were the moderators of a Democratic primary debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, reprising a role that Ms. Ifill had performed solo between sparring vice-presidential candidates in the 2004 and 2008 general election campaigns.
She also wrote “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” a book published the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the president said, “Gwen was a friend of ours. She was an extraordinary journalist; she always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession: asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work.”
Ms. Ifill had taken a month long leave from her PBS programs this year without disclosing her medical condition. She went on leave again a week ago, missing election-night coverage. – nytimes.com
U remember this past campaign, I remembered to break away from the regular news coverage and watch PBS and Gwen. I felt so much better after watching their coverage than I had after watching the other "news" channels' coverage. She was a big part of that.
Thank you Gwen for your hard work, honesty, and dedication. Your professionalism will be missed.