PBS journalist Gwen Ifill dies of Cancer at 61
By: Erin Johnson, Xiro Xone News November 14, 2016 Updated: 5:11 PM
Gwen Ifill, one of the nation's most prominent journalists, has died after several months of cancer treatment, PBS confirmed Monday.
Ifill had taken a two-month leave of absence from her duties at PBS in April while she was undergoing treatment, but she returned in May. In early November, she again went on leave from the network for health reasons.
Prior to joining PBS in 1999, Ifill was one of the first African-American journalists to hold prominent positions in both broadcasting and print journalism. She was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for The New York Times and a political reporter at The Washington Post. She also worked at the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American.
On Wednesday, Ifill had been scheduled to be presented with the John Chancellor Award by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, an honor that recognizes cumulative career accomplishments in the field. Ifill was to be the first African American to accept the award in its 21-year history.
Ifill covered seven presidential campaigns in her career and was the first African-American female journalist to moderate a vice-presidential debate. In 2004, she moderated the debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards, and the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
In a news conference Monday, President Obama noted the groundbreaking achievements in Ifill's career and said she "did her country a great service."
"She not only informed today’s citizens, but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists," he said. "She was especially a powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her intellect, and for whom she blazed a trail as one half of the first all-female anchor team on network news."