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Gwen Ifill

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Information about Gwen Ifill

Profile image of Gwen Ifill

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Reporter
Television News Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Gravy
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/29/1955
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Reporter
Television News Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Gravy
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/29/1955
Birth Location:
New York
See how Gwen Ifill is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

PBS-TV journalist Gwen Ifill was born on September 29, 1955 in New York City to her parents, O. Urcille Ifill, Sr., an African Methodist Episcopal minister who hailed from Panama, and her mother, Eleanor Husbands from Barbados. Her father's ministry required the family to live in several cities in different church parsonages throughout New England including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York, where the family resided in federally subsidized housing. Ifill's interest in journalism was rooted in her parents' insistence that their children gather nightly in front of the television to watch the national news. In 1973, Ifill graduated from Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Four years later, she received her B.A. degree in communications from Simmons College in Boston. During her senior year, she interned at the Boston Herald American newspaper.

Ifill worked at the Boston Herald American newspaper as a reporter in 1977. She left in 1980 to work as a writer for the Baltimore Evening Sun where she was able to work as a political reporter. In 1984, Ifill moved to Washington D.C. to work as a political reporter for the Washington Post where she covered the suburban Maryland beat until 1988, when she was promoted to the national news desk and sent to report on the Republican National Convention. Ifill then accepted a position as White House correspondent for the New York Times in 1991. She went on to NBC News in 1994 and worked in the Washington, D.C. bureau as chief Congressional and political correspondent. In 1999, Ifill became the first African American woman to host a prominent political talk show on national television when she became moderator and managing editor of PBS’s Washington Week and senior political correspondent for The PBS NewsHour. In 2004, Ifill moderated the vice-presidential debate between Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Democrat Senator John Edwards, and in 2008, she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin.

Ifill was the recipient of numerous awards including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award. Her book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009.

Gwen Ifill was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2012.

Ifill passed away on November 14, 2016.

See how Gwen Ifill is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwen Ifill's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill describes her father's personality and the values he taught her
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about her father's family background in Panama City, Panama and his immigration to the United States
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill describes her mother's family background in Barbados
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon how she embodies her parents' characteristics
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill describes her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill describes her earliest childhood memories of growing up in poverty
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill lists the cities she lived in as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gwen Ifill describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gwen Ifill describes her upbringing in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill describes her upbringing in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill talks about her identity as an African American with Caribbean heritage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill describes her relationships with her parents as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about her close relationship with her brother and love of reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill recalls the assassinations of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill recalls her exposure to the news as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill recalls her father's patriotism and race pride
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill describes her educational experience from junior high school in Steelton, Pennsylvania through high school in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill describes her experiences entering Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill talks about her internships and mentors while at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Gwen Ifill talks about African American student organizations at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Gwen Ifill describes her experiences interning at the Boston Herald American newspaper
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Gwen Ifill remembers Shirley Chisholm speaking at her graduation from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1977
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill recalls reporting on the first big story of her career at the Boston Herald American
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill talks about attending St. Paul AME Church in Cambridge, while living in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill explains how she learned about politics as a reporter at the Boston Herald American
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about the lessons she learned as a political reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill talks about covering Baltimore, Maryland Mayor William Donald Schaefer for the Baltimore Evening Sun
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill talks about accepting a job at The Washington Post
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill describes what it was like to be an African American woman reporter at The Washington Post in the 1980s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the lack of diversity in The Washington Post's newsroom
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill talks about moving to The Washington Post's national staff in 1987 and covering HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the significance of HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Gwen Ifill talks about being hired by The New York Times as a congressional correspondent
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwen Ifill's interview, session two
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill talks about other African American journalist working at The Washington Post in the 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill talks about the repercussions of the Janet Cooke scandal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about covering Prince George's County, Maryland while a reporter for The Washington Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill talks about covering long-shot candidates in the 1988 presidential campaign, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill recalls interviewing voters with journalist David Broder
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill talks about covering long-shot candidates in the 1988 presidential campaign, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill describes what it is like to a reporter on a political campaign trail
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill describes the dynamics between reporters and candidates' staff while on the campaign trail
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill talks about being hired by The New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill describes her first experiences appearing on television
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill talks about the prestige of working at The New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill talks about being hired away from The New York Times by NBC News
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about her close friendships with HistoryMaker Michele Norris and Michel Martin who also transitioned into television at the same time
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill recalls taking care of her mother before she died
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill lists other African American journalists transitioning from print to TV journalism in the early 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the differences between commercial television and public broadcasting, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill explains how she was hired by PBS for 'Washington Week in Review' and 'PBS NewsHour'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the differences between commercial television and public broadcasting, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill describes her vision for 'Washington Week'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Gwen Ifill explains the structure of the Public Broadcasting Service and the evolution of 'PBS NewsHour'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Gwen Ifill explains the difference between 'PBS NewsHour' and 'Washington Week'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill recalls moderating the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill recalls how she prepared to moderate the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill recalls moderating the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill talks about breaking her ankle before the 2008 vice presidential debate
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill recalls writing an op-ed in The New York Times denouncing Don Imus's racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill recalls writing an op-ed in The New York Times denouncing Don Imus's racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill talks about mentoring young African American women
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill describes the process of writing her book 'The Breakthrough: Race and Politics in the Age of Obama'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the evolution and the next generation of African American politicians
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill recalls being considered to be the successor to 'Meet the Press' host Tim Russert
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon her experience interviewing celebrities for The HistoryMakers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill recalls her experience interviewing HistoryMaker Ursula Burns for 'An Evening with Ursula Burns'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill talks about her positive African American identity
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the legacy of her generation of African Americans
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon the lessons she learned as a the child of immigrants
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon her racial identity
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Sponsors of 'An Evening With Gwen Ifill'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Introduction of 'An Evening With Gwen Ifill'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill talks about the importance of creating a sense of accessibility for her audience
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Film clip of Gwen Ifill's family background and education
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Gwen Ifill describes her childhood household
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Gwen Ifill recalls using her platform to address the racial slur directed at the Rutgers University women's basketball team in 2007
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Gwen Ifill describes her childhood aspirations and her experiences working at the Boston Herald American
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Gwen Ifill talks about her early journalism career and a clip of her transition from print to TV news
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Gwen Ifill recalls covering HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and other long-shot candidates during the 1988 presidential campaign
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Gwen Ifill describes her transition from print to TV journalism and her passion for covering politics
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Gwen Ifill talks about hosting 'Washington Week in Review' and being a senior political correspondent for the 'PBS NewsHour'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Film clip of Gwen Ifill's career at PBS, hosting political debates and interviewing HistoryMakers
  • Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon being a role model
  • Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Gwen Ifill recalls her experiences hosting vice presidential debates
  • Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Special message from HistoryMakers Dionne Warwick and Diahann Carroll
  • Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Gwen Ifill recalls her interviews for The HistoryMakers 'An Evening With...' events
  • Tape: 9 Story: 17 - Gwen Ifill reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 18 - Gwen Ifill describes her dream interview subject for The HistoryMakers
  • Tape: 9 Story: 19 - Musical selection from Mae Ya Carter Ryan
  • Tape: 9 Story: 20 - Information on how to order a copy of 'An Evening With Gwen Ifill'