Washington, D.C. — Veteran television journalist Gwen Ifill, the longtime host of PBS’ “Washington Week” and co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” has died. She was 61. A PBS spokesperson confirmed that Ifill passed away Monday after a months-long battle with cancer.
“Gwen was a standard-bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” Sara Just, “PBS NewsHour” executive producer and senior VP of public television station WETA, said in a statement. “She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her. So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on TV. We will forever miss her terribly.”
New York native Ifill graduated from Simmons College in 1977 and went on to hold positions at The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC before joining PBS’s “Washington Week in Review” in 1999. Her work was honored by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center, Ebony magazine and Boston’s Ford Hall Forum. She received more than 20 honorary doctorates and served on the boards of the News Literacy Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists, PBS said.
Ifill’s book “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” was published by Doubleday in 2009.