PBS Journalist Gwen Ifill Dead of Cancer at Age 61, PBS Says


PBS/Gwen Ifill

NEW YORK (AP) – Longtime PBS journalist Gwen Ifill has passed away following a battle with cancer, PBS said in a statement. She was 61.

“Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” PBS President Paula Kerger said in a statement. “She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society. Gwen did this with grace and a steadfast commitment to excellence.”

Ifill, who co-hosted “PBS NewsHour” and moderated “Washington Week,” joined PBS in 1999 after stints at The New York Times, Washington Post and NBC. She was also a noted debate moderator, having presided over the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates.

Since the news of her death broke, condolences — from politicians, celebrities, and fellow journalists — have poured in on Twitter.

Keenly aware of her role as a women of color in media, Ifill once told The New York Times, “When I was a little girl watching programs like this — because that’s the kind of nerdy family we were — I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color.

“I’m very keen about the fact that a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy sitting side by side, it will occur to them that that’s perfectly normal — that it won’t seem like any big breakthrough at all,” she added.

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