PR Diva continues to honor African-American women communicators throughout Black History Month by celebrating Gwen Ifill. As moderator and Managing Director of “Washington Week”, the longest running prime-time news and public affairs program on television and senior correspondent to “The PBS Newshour”, Gwen Ifill reports on issues from world affairs to US politics and policies and has interviewed national and international newsmakers. She has covered six Presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates. Gwen Iffill is also the best-selling author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” (Doubleday, 2009). We honor Gwen Ifill for her contributions to journalism and public broadcasting and to the literary community. She has truly carved the way for women communicators.
Journalist, television news correspondent, news program moderator. Born on September 29, 1955, in New York, New York. Gwen Ifill is one of today’s leading African American television reporters. The daughter of a minister, she had a strong religious upbringing. Ifill went to Simmons College in Boston where she majored in communications, and through an internship got her first hands-on experience as a journalist.
After graduating in 1977, Gwen Ifill went to work for the Boston Herald-American as a reporter. She began to focus more on politics with her position at Baltimore’s Evening Sun. While there, Ifill had her first opportunity in front of the cameras as the host of a news show for a local public television station.
After stints at such prestigious publications as the Washington Post and The New York Times, Gwen Ifill switched to television reporting by joining NBC News in 1994 as a congressional correspondent. Besides her work as on-air reporter, she appeared as a guest on several political programs, such as Meet the Press and Washington Week, a show that features a roundtable discussion on public affairs.
Clearly impressed with her analytical skills and journalistic savvy, PBS hired Gwen Ifill for two of its news programs in 1999: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Washington Week. She works as a senior correspondent for NewsHour, conducting interviews with key figures and filing reports on the latest news. Ifill also fills in as news anchor for Lehrer from time to time. On Washington Week, she serves as the program’s moderator and its managing editor. Capable of handling complex issues and different, sometimes clashing personalities, Ifill has been called upon to moderate a number of political debates, including the first vice presidential debate during the 2004 presidential campaign between Dick Cheney and John Edwards and in the 2008 campaign, between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
A distinguished journalist with a long career, Gwen Ifill has received 15 honorary degrees. She is also a board member of several organizations, including Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.