An Evening With Gwen Ifill was a live-to-tape, one-on-one interview with veteran PBS-TV news journalist Gwen Ifill, conducted by noted NPR journalist Michele Norris. Taped on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at the Library of Congress, the program paid tribute to Ifill, the long time host of The HistoryMakers’ signature An Evening With… series. An Evening With Gwen Ifill also celebrated the announcement of the Library of Congress as the permanent repository of The HistoryMakers collection.
The twenty-second program in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With… series, An Evening With Gwen Ifill turned the interviewer’s lens on Ifill herself, and in the process, Ifill, through stories from the campaign trail and the anchor desk, demonstrated how she had earned her reputation as a trusted and balanced reporter. An Evening With Gwen Ifill was a unique opportunity to showcase one of America’s leading onscreen voices in a more intimate audience setting.
Pioneering journalist Gwen Ifill was born in Queens, New York in 1955. After earning her B.A. degree in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1977, she was hired by The Boston Herald American in the midst of the city’s notorious busing crisis. After joining the Baltimore Evening Sun, she moved to covering national politics. In 1984, Ifill was hired by The Washington Post; and in 1991, she became the White House correspondent for The New York Times. In 1994, she was named the chief congressional correspondent for NBC, and in 1999, she became the moderator of PBS’ Washington Week in Review, as well as a correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In October of 2004, Ifill became the first African American woman to moderate a vice presidential debate. Her first book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009.
In 2011, Ifill served as the moderator for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. She is the recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and several broadcasting excellence awards, including honors from the National Press Foundation, Ebony magazine, the Radio Television News Directors Association, and American Women in Radio and Television. Ifill also interviewed Diahann Carroll, Quincy Jones, Eartha Kitt and Smokey Robinson for The HistoryMakers annual PBS-TV An Evening With…series.
Ifill passed away in 2016.
Michele Norris is one of the most respected voices in American journalism. She leads the The Race Card Project, an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America that she created after the publication of her 2010 family memoir, The Grace of Silence.
Most recently, Norris was a host on NPR’s All Things Considered, where she informed, engaged and enlightened listeners with thoughtful interviews and in-depth reporting. Norris has interviewed world leaders, Nobel laureates, Oscar winners, American presidents, military leaders, influential newsmakers and even astronauts traveling in outer space. She is known for her approachable interviewing style that is both relaxed and rigorous. In addition to this deep reporting, Norris regularly interviews newsmakers, from politicians to prominent individuals such as Representatives James Clyburn (D-SC), Paul Ryan (R-WI) and First Lady Michelle Obama. Before joining NPR in 2002, Norris spent almost ten years as a reporter for ABC News in the Washington Bureau. She has also worked as a staff writer for The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
Norris has received numerous awards for her work. In 2009, she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. The NABJ recognized Norris for her body of work, in addition to her coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign, when she moderated a series of candid conversations with voters on the intersection of race and politics. That series earned Norris and Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep an Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcasting.
Norris was honored with NABJ’s 2006 Salute to Excellence Award, for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina; the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award; and the 1990 Livingston Award for a series about a six-year-old who lived in a crack house. Norris earned both an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to ABC News’ coverage of 9/11.
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