Journalist, television news correspondent, news program moderator. Born on September 29, 1955, in New York, New York. Gwen Ifill is one of today's leading African-American television reporters. She is the fifth child of African Methodist Episcopal minister Oliver Urcille Ifill, Sr., a Panamanian of Barbadian descent who emigrated from Panama, and Eleanor Ifill, who was from Barbados. Ifill attended Simmons College in Boston where she majored in communications, and through an internship got her first hands-on experience as a journalist.
While at Simmons, Ifill interned for the Boston Herald-American and was hired after graduation by editors deeply embarrassed by an incident during her internship in which a co-worker left a note for her that read "Nigger go home." She began to focus more on politics with her position at Baltimore's Evening Sun. While there, Ifill had her first opportunity in front of the cameras as the host of a news show for a local public television station.
After stints at such prestigious publications as the Washington Post and The New York Times, Gwen Ifill switched to television reporting by joining NBC News in 1994 as a congressional correspondent. Besides her work as on-air reporter, she appeared as a guest on several political programs, such as Meet the Press and Washington Week, a show that features a roundtable discussion on public affairs.
Clearly impressed with her analytical skills and journalistic savvy, PBS hired Gwen Ifill for two of its news programs in 1999: NewsHour With Jim Lehrer and Washington Week. She works as a senior correspondent for NewsHour, conducting interviews with key figures and filing reports on the latest news. Ifill also fills in as news anchor for Lehrer from time to time. On Washington Week, she serves as the program's moderator and its managing editor. Capable of handling complex issues and different, sometimes clashing personalities, Ifill has been called upon to moderate a number of political debates, including the first vice presidential debate during the 2004 presidential campaign between Dick Cheney and John Edwards and in the 2008 campaign, between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
A distinguished journalist with a long career, Gwen Ifill has received 15 honorary degrees. She is also a board member of several organizations, including Harvard University's Institute of Politics. She has also been honored for her work by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center, The National Association of Black Journalists, Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, and was included in Ebony Magazine’s list of 150 Most Influential African Americans.
Ifill is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
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