Veteran broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill dies at 61

Debate moderator Gwen Ifill speaks to the audience before the the vice presidential debate between Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., on October 2, 2008. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 14, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Gwen Ifill, one of the nation’s most prominent broadcast journalists, who co-anchored “PBS NewsHour,” has died, PBS said Monday.

Ifill, 61, had been battling endometrial cancer for several months, according to reports.

PBS said in a statement that she died Monday “surrounded by family and friends.”

Ifill was moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of the “PBS NewsHour.”  In 2009, she wrote a political book about President Obama, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

Ifill was also a political analyst and moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates, as well as a 2016 Democratic primary debate.

“It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends,” said a statement from Paula Kerger, PBS’ CEO. “Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation.”

“Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated,” Kerger said. “She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society. Gwen did this with grace and a steadfast commitment to excellence. Our sorrow at her passing is a part of our profound gratitude for all that she did for our system and our nation. It was an honor to know Gwen and to work with her. All of us at PBS express our sincere condolences to Gwen’s friends and family.”

According to Wikipedia, Ifill was born in New York City, the fifth child of an African Methodist Episcopal minister. Her father’s ministry required the family to live in several cities throughout New England and the Eastern Seaboard during her youth. In her childhood, Ifill lived in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts church parsonages and in federally subsidized housing in Buffalo and New York City. She graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Prior to joining PBS, Ifill served as NBC News’ chief congressional and political correspondent. Previous jobs included the New York Times, where she was a White House correspondent, and the Washington Post, where she was a local and national political reporter.

She moderated the 2004 vice-presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards and the 2008 vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.


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