Gwen Ifill, Gwendolyn L. Ifill

In 1999, when Gwen Ifill (1955–2016) debuted as moderator and managing editor on the PBS political affairs roundtable program Washington Week, she became the first woman of African descent to host a nationally televised public affairs program in the United States. Born Gwendolyn L. Ifill in New York City, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from Simmons College (1977) in Boston, Massachusetts, the city where she began her career in journalism at the Boston Herald American. Before joining PBS, she built her career at the Baltimore Evening Sun (1981–1984), the Washington Post (1984–1991), the New York Times (1991–1994), and NBC News (1994–1999). In 2013, at PBS, she became co-managing editor and co-anchor with Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour. At PBS, she moderated several presidential and vice-presidential debates, gaining a reputation for being even-handed and thoughtful, yet tough. She received several awards for her journalism, including the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award (2006), the George Foster Peabody Award (2008), and the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award (2015). Her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009. Gwen Ifill died in Washngton, D.C., on November 14, 2016, at the age of 61.

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Last modified: 24 November 2019