About Gwen @gwenifill
Gwen Ifill was the moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor for "The PBS NEWSHOUR w/ Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff."
The best-selling author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," (Doubleday, 2009), she also moderated the Vice Presidential debates during the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2008.
Gwen covered eight Presidential campaigns, and during the 2008 campaign season, won the George Foster Peabody Award after bringing Washington Week to live audiences around the country as part of a 10-city tour.
Now in its 49th year, Washington Week is the longest-running prime-time news and public affairs program on television. Each week, Gwen brought together some of the best journalists in Washington to discuss the major stories of the week with the reporters who actually cover the news that emanates from the nation's capital and affects the nation and the world.
Gwen joined both Washington Week and PBS NewsHour in 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for The New York Times, and a local and national political reporter for The Washington Post. She also reported for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American.
"I always knew I wanted to be a journalist, and my first love was newspapers," Ifill said. "But public broadcasting provides the best of both worlds-combining the depth of newspapering with the immediate impact of broadcast television."
A native of New York City and a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Ifill received more than 25 honorary doctorates. In 2015 she was awarded with the National Press Club's highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award. 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, Ohio University, and was included in Ebony Magazine's list of 150 Most Influential African Americans.
She also served on the board of the News Literacy Project, on the advisory board of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Gwen’s Recent Stories
Politics Aug 29Gwen’s Take: Getting to 2016 by surviving 2014
It’s been a runaway treadmill of a summer. If it hasn’t been protests in the Midwest, it’s been planes dropping out of the sky in Ukraine. If it hasn’t been rockets and missiles raining down in the Middle East, it…
Politics Aug 15Gwen’s Take: The optics of a national crisis
In moments like this, optics matter. Remember the photograph of President George W. Bush gazing passively from a plane that flew over, but did not land, on the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast in 2005? That was damaging.
Politics Aug 08Gwen’s Take: The U.S.-Africa Summit: Of opportunities and setbacks
African and American leaders prepare for the third and final plenary meeting of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington August 6. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images They arrived on jet planes. They clogged downtown Washington, D.C. streets with sleek,…
Politics Aug 01Gwen’s Take: Who knew? Bipartisanship isn’t dead
This space is often taken up with doom and gloom, as we watch Washington and the nation split itself into irrevocable ideological halves. We watched it play out again this week on Capitol Hill, when Republicans in the House voted…
Politics Jul 25Gwen’s Take: Caroline Kennedy and life on the back burner
The Obama administration has so many urgent items on its agenda, it is inevitable that other things get shoved aside, including nuclear standoffs and territorial disputes on the other side of the world. Into this world of multiple distractions has…
Politics Jul 18Split Focus: Seeing polarization up close
MILWAUKEE — The people who came out to see Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., at his town hall meeting in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls this past weekend were angry and resentful. The immigration crisis, they worried, is threatening their…
Politics Jul 11Gwen’s Take: Take a tablespoon of policy, add a dash of politics and mix well
The national immigration debate has risen, Lazarus-like, from the ash bin to which politics had consigned it. As with issues ranging from death to taxes (to death taxes) we’ve been having some version of the same argument for years.
Politics Jun 27Gwen’s Take: Welcome to the circus
I resisted. I really did. It was too soon, I argued. Couldn’t we get through the midterms first? Did we really have to cover the 2016 campaign for two solid years?…
Politics Jun 20Gwen’s Take: On liars, prostitutes and shrinking civility
I believe it has been well established in this space that I like politics and generally respect politicians. Sometimes, however, it is a challenge. Take Brian Schweitzer. Please.
Politics Jun 13Playing whack-a-mole: Hit or miss on politics and policy
Had a bad week? One that made you cry? One where you got smacked sideways by a setback you never saw coming? John Boehner has some advice for you: change the subject. That’s the option the speaker of the House…