Gwen Ifill, a trailblazing journalist who was one-half of the first all-female team to anchor a network TV news show, died on Monday after a battle with cancer. She was 61.
As the co-anchor, with Judy Woodruff, of the “PBS NewsHour,” Ifill often introduced segments on education produced by Education Week Video, the show’s main partner on education news for the least year and a half.
“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” Sara Just, the executive producer of “PBS NewsHour” and senior vice president of WETA, the public TV station in the Washington market that co-produces it, 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.”
Ifill, a New York City native, got her start on newspapers such as the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American, before moving on to The Washington Post and The New York Times, where she was a White House correspondent. She was a congressional and political correspondent for NBC News before moving to PBS, where she was also the moderator of “Washington Week.”
Speaking at a news conference this afternoon in advance of a multi-continent foreign trip, President Barack Obama praised Ifill as “an extraordinary journalist.”
“I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting, even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews,” Obama said. “Whether she reported from the convention floor or the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or at the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists.”
“She was an especially powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity, and her intellect,” the president said.
Photo: Gwen Ifill, co-anchor of the “NewsHour” on the PBS television network, attends an awards ceremony last year in New York. (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP-File)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.