By: Krystle Crossman
Sad news came about today when PBS confirmed the death of broadcaster and beloved journalist Gwen Ifill. She was surrounded by her family and friends at a hospice care facility when she passed away at the young age of 61. Ifill was very private about her health but it had been learned that she had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer a year prior. Unfortunately the cancer ended up taking her life. The president and CEO of WETA (the news station Ifill worked for), Sharon Percy Rockefellar, sent out an email to everyone on the staff. She let them know that she was comfortable when she passed and had been surrounded by those she loved. Rockefeller stated that she spoke with Ifill in the morning and told her that she was loved by everyone at the station and they were all with her.
Paula Kerger, the President and CEO of PBS, released a statement as well. She said that Ifill was someone who helped to make their newscast one that could be trusted by the public. She made sure that she reported the facts and she took her time to have a complete story. Kerger spoke highly of Ifill saying that she was someone who would bring light and positivity to stories that were controversial instead of trying to evoke heated and harsh responses.
Ifill began her career after she graduated from Simmons College in 1977 with a Bachelor’s degree in communications. She was an integral part of PBS’s roundtable discussions on Washington Week, which she also the managing editor for. She started with PBS in 1999. Along with being the moderator on Washington Week she held a position as a newscaster for PBS NewsHour. This position began in 2013 and was co-hosted by Judy Woodruff.
One of the greatest traits that Ifill possessed was a sharp wit and extreme knowledge of politics. She got right to the point and did so with a positive tone. Viewers trusted her because of the research she did and how she reported it. She has moderated debates as well including a debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders earlier this year, between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in 2008, and between Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004. She was a respected moderator that didn’t hold back any punches. Ifill will be missed by everyone who knew her and all of the viewers who loved her. Rest in Peace Gwen Ifill.