Washington Week

Friday Nights on PBS

Gwen Ifill

GWEN IFILL served as moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour” until her death in November 2016.

Gwen reported on a wide range of issues from foreign affairs to U.S. politics and policies interviewing national and international newsmakers. She covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates -- in 2004 the debate between Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat John Edwards and in 2008 the debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin.

Each week on “Washington Week,” Gwen led a robust roundtable discussion with award-winning journalists who provided reporting and analysis of the major stories emanating from the nation’s capital. Now in its 50th year on the air, “Washington Week” is the longest-running prime-time news and public affairs program on television.

Gwen led numerous public conversations and town halls exploring issues facing the country. In June 2016, she moderated a town meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, with President Obama, exploring voters’ choices. In September 2015, she moderated “America After Charleston,” examining the issues propelled into public discourse after a white gunman shot and killed nine African-American parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. In September 2014, she moderated “America After Ferguson,” discussing the many issues facing communities in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign season, “Washington Week” continued a tradition of special broadcasts and live audience events at the sites of the national political conventions -- Cleveland and Philadelphia -- as well as from Colorado Springs and Milwaukee. The election year road show series began in 2008 and continued in 2012 and allowed live audiences to interact with Gwen and her weekly panelists on the issues surrounding the election year. The regular broadcasts and whistle-stop series earned “Washington Week” a 2008 Peabody Award. In honoring “Washington Week” the committee cited the program for “its reasoned, reliable contribution to the national discourse,” and as the gold standard “for public-affairs enthusiasts who prefer illumination to confrontational fireworks.” 

Before coming to PBS in 1999, Gwen 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. Gwen was also the best-selling author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” (Doubleday, 2009).

Gwen received more than 20 honorary doctorates and served on the boards of the News Literacy Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and she was a fellow with the American Academy of Sciences. In 2015 she was awarded with the National Press Club’s highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award. She was posthumously awarded the John Chancellor Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence from Arizona State University, which she shared with her NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff. She was also honored for her work as a journalist by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center, The National Association of Black Journalists, Ohio University, Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, and she was included in Ebony Magazine’s list of 150 Most Influential African Americans, among many other honors. A native of New York City, Gwen graduated from Simmons College in Boston.

Gwen on PBS Newshour

Gwen's NewsHour Reports

Nearly 2 million warned to flee destructive Hurricane Matthew in the U.S.

October 6, 2016
Hurricane Matthew has caused the deaths of 140 people, mostly in Haiti, and that toll is expected to rise. Aid workers who have been able to reach the most heavily damaged areas report near-total losses. The U.S. mainland is the storm’s next target; Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are already under a state of emergency. Gwen Ifill gets an update from FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
Gwen's NewsHour Reports

The state of safety and civil rights progress for black Americans today

September 22, 2016
Charlotte and Tulsa are the most recent in a long list of cities that have mourned and protested deadly police shootings against black Americans. Gwen Ifill speaks with author and activist Andre Perry, Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, and Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine about what these acts of violence suggest about life in the black community today.
Gwen's NewsHour Reports

Gary Johnson on the rules keeping him off the debate stage

September 21, 2016
Former governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is polling the highest of third-party candidates, although he did not qualify for the upcoming first debate. He speaks with Gwen Ifill about what he sees as unfair election polling, how he would do away with the “added layer of bureaucracy” that is the Department of Homeland Security and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Recent Appearances

Gwen Ifill talks politics and media at Colorado College

September 8, 2016
Ahead of a special taping of Washington Week at Colorado College, moderator and managing editor Gwen Ifill spoke to political science students about the 2016 election, objectivity in journalism and the future of the news industry.

The Aspen Institute on Inequality and Opportunity

November 23, 2015
Gwen Ifill moderates "Inequality: Causes and Consequences" at The Aspen Institute's Summit on Inequality and Opportunity.

2nd Annual Ethos and Profession of Intelligence Conference

November 3, 2015
Gwen Ifill moderated a panel discussion on "21st Century Challenges - Denied Areas, Digital Domains and Determined Adversaries" at the 2nd Annual Ethos and Profession of Intelligence Conference, co-hosted by the Central Intelligence Agency and the George Washington University.

Recommended Books

Hard Choices
By: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
By: Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie