Remembering the Greats: Gwen Ifill

Intellectual powerhouse and graceful gatekeeper of women in journalism Gwen Ifill died on November 14, 2016, of Cancer.

She was only 61.

Born in Queens, New York, on September 29th, 1955, Ifill was already on the road to becoming a journalist. According to many sources, including the New York Times, as a young girl Ifill was always actively paying attention to the news.

At the time when it was a women- only college, Ifill attended Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1977 she received her bachelor of arts degree in communications; no sooner did she have her first job as a journalist with the Boston Herald American.

Following her time at the Boston Herald American, she worked for the Baltimore Maryland Sun from 1981 to 1984. In 1984, she worked at the Washington Post until 1991. She left the Post to cover the White House for the New York Times until 1994.

Her career skyrocketed right out of college. She worked for four major newspapers over the span of just 17 years, but once her uphill climb began, it never stopped.

Ifill paved the way for women everywhere, and particularly women of color, in the field of media. At the height of her career in 1999, she was the first woman of color to host a national political talk show live on PBS. The show was entitled Washington Week in Review.

Notably, she moderated both the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004 as well as  2008 debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. She was the first black woman to ever  moderate a debate.

To say the least, she was a pretty remarkable woman. In 2009, she published her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama about pivotal African American political leaders, which became a New York Times best seller.

In 2011 she was asked to host the News and Documentary Emmy Awards and won numerous awards herself,including the First Amendment Award and numerous other awards in career excellence.

An unfathomable amount of journalists, friends, family and people still mourn the loss of outstanding journalistic pioneer Gwen Ifill.