Gwen Ifill was the journalist, who was known for covering politics for the premier newspapers in the country, prior to taking her role in broadcast journalism. She would eventually make her mark as being one of the most prominent anchors on television in her generation. The famed journalist died from endometrial cancer, November 14. According to Roberto Ifill, Gwen’s brother, the 61-year old journalist was at a hospice center located in Washington.
Recently, Ifill had begun to use leaves of absence, due to her health illness. At the time, she was a moderator on PBS’ “Washington Week” and also a co-anchor for “The PBS NewsHour”. In February of this year, the journalist was in Wisconsin, moderating a Democratic primary debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
When the NewsHour co-anchor, Judy Woodruff was asked about Gwen Ifill, Woodruff called her a consummate communicator that exuded “the rare combination of authority and warmth. She came through the screen, as a friend to people who watched her. But, she also displayed the authority for people to believe you to have credibility.” Woodruff continued, “She didn’t mind telling anyone, when they were wrong on camera. She kept it respectful. She was one of the most graceful interrupters I have ever seen.”
There were other black luminaries that maintained highly visible anchor positions, prior to Ifill’s breakout moment in her career, such as Max Robinson with ABC and Bernard Shaw with CNN. Ifill became one of the first African-American women that would preside over a national political show. This was in 1999, and the show was called, “Washington Week in Review”. A curator for the Paley Center for Media in New York, Ron Simon shared how Ms. Ifill put him in the mind of Walter Cronkite, by how she excelled in print and in television with journalistic ideals.