PBS ‘NewsHour’ co-host Gwen Ifill dies at age 61

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

The vet­eran of both print and broad­cast jour­nal­ism lost her bat­tle with can­cer on Mon­day.

Gwen Ifill, coan­chor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff and a vet­eran jour­nal­ist who mod­er­ated two vice pres­i­den­tial de­bates, died Mon­day of can­cer, the net­work said. She was 61. A for­mer re­porter for The New York Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post, Ifill switched to tele­vi­sion in the 1990s and cov­ered pol­i­tics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of “Wash­ing­ton Week” and also worked for the nightly “NewsHour” pro­gram. She and Woodruff were named co-an­chors in 2013.

She mod­er­ated vice pres­i­den­tial de­bates in 2004 and 2008 and au­thored the book, “The Break­through: Pol­i­tics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

The pres­i­dent on Mon­day praised Ifill for in­form­ing to­day’s cit­i­zens while also in­spir­ing a young gen­er­a­tion of jour­nal­ists.

“I al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated Gwen’s re­port­ing, even when I was on the re­ceiv­ing end of one of her tough” in­ter­views, Obama said.

Ifill took a leave from “NewsHour” for a month this spring for health rea­sons, keep­ing de­tails of her ill­ness pri­vate. Her health fail­ing, she left “NewsHour” again shortly be­fore an elec­tion night that she and Woodruff would have cov­ered to­gether.

“Gwen was a stan­dard bearer for courage, fair­ness and in­tegrity in an in­dus­try go­ing through seis­mic change,” said Sara Just, PBS “NewsHour” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. “She was a men­tor to so many across the in­dus­try and her pro­fes­sion­al­ism was re­spected across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. She was a jour­nal­ist’s jour­nal­ist and set an ex­am­ple for all around her.”

NBC News’ Pete Wil­liams, a for­mer col­league, strug­gled to keep his com­po­sure Mon­day when an­nounc­ing Ifill’s death on MSNBC.

“She had so many awards in her of­fice you could barely see out the win­dow,” Wil­liams said.

AP FILE

Gwen Ifill is pho­tographed in New York in Novem­ber 2015.

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