Journalism

Television Newscasters

Who is Gwen Ifill?

Gwen Ifill (1955–) was hired as moderator of Public Broadcasting System’s Washington Week in Review in 1999, becoming the first black woman to host a prominent political talk show on national television. The veteran news reporter began her work in journalism in 1977, when she was a reporter for the Boston Herald-American. She left that post in 1989, and from 1981 to 1984 she was a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun. She joined the Washington Post in 1984 as a political reporter. From 1991 to 1994 Ifill was first congressional correspondent for the New York Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau, then became White House correspondent. Her first assignment as congressional correspondent was to join other reporters on a bus that trailed presidential candidate Bill Clinton. She served as panelist and occasional moderator from 1992 to 1999, before becoming moderator and managing editor of Washington Week in Review. When she made her debut on the show in the fall of 1999, producers began an advertising campaign for it, called “TV’s Voice of Reason Has a New Face.” Ifill is also senior political correspondent for PBS Newshour (previously The News Hour with Jim Lehrer). She received widespread public attention when she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden on October 2, 2008. Born in New York City, Ifill was educated at Simmons College. In 2009 her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published.



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