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 May 29John F. Kerry: In search of credit in a complicated world
When you have an interview with the Secretary of State, there is almost too much to get to -- Syria, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Edward Snowden. But what John Kerry wanted to talk about…
Politics May 16Gwen’s Take: 5 things you may have missed in my Bill Clinton interview
It’s always gratifying when an interview gets headlines. We cover the news, but it’s also kind of fun to make news from time to time. So I knew when I walked on stage to interview former President Bill Clinton at…
Politics May 09Gwen’s Take: The perils of keyboard activism
The Internet makes it so easy. You see a compelling picture, you retweet it, Instagram it, or post it to your Facebook page. Instantly, you have joined a movement and signaled to everyone you know (or kind of know) that…
Politics May 02Gwen’s Take: Beware the clickbait (or why there’s always more to the story)
Washington does not lack for smugness. It takes only one committee vote, or one fancy dinner to send many of us into paroxysms of self-congratulation. But we are not alone in this. A brief survey of the week’s headlines should…
Politics Apr 25Gwen’s Take: Politics as an extinct species
It is an entirely human condition to pine for the good old days, when candy cost a penny, hopscotch was the best way to spend recess and politicians actually talked to, not only at, one another. But as the…
Politics Apr 11Gwen’s Take: The arc of history and the Civil Rights Act
From where I sit in Washington -- as midterm malaise sets in once again -- it’s breathtaking to look back on a time when so much got done.
Politics Apr 04Women’s voices: three ways to get heard
I met a member of a dying breed this week. But I had to leave Washington and travel to Pittsburgh to do it. There, on the campus of Chatham University, I made the reacquaintance of Elsie Hillman, who has spent…
Politics Mar 28Gwen’s Take: The tyranny of heightened expectations
It is fascinating to watch the cloud of expectation that follows the president around. Obama supporters, somewhat emotionally deflated after five years of reality checks, still appear to expect him to confront dictators (without troops), end deportations (while protecting the…
Politics Mar 21The perils of conventional wisdom – geopolitical edition
As I type this, cable news is playing mutely on the television on my desk. The “Breaking News” banner reads: “Officials: This is the best lead we have right now.”…
Politics Feb 28Gwen’s Take: The first 47 years
My producer alerted me earlier this week that Washington Week is celebrating its 47th birthday. Forty-seven does not seem to be particularly noteworthy, so I looked it up. Halle Berry, John Cusack and Janet Jackson are 47. So are Adam…