When I want real news, real information, I turn to PBS. Though Bill Moyers and Jim Lehrer cemented my appreciation for PBS, I think I became addicted to the PBS Newshour because of Gwen Ifill. I sensed an exceptional commitment to honesty in the woman. She was, to me, the Walter Cronkite of recent television journalism; I believed her and valued her because I trusted her. She tethered me to truth and shielded me from the sensationalism that is so prevalent in other media. I don’t discount her co-anchor, Judy Woodruff; but it was Gwen Ifill who was my favorite. And I, rabidly anti-political in many respects because I tend not to trust politicians, loved Washington Week. How she captured my attention so that I tried to watch every Friday evening, I don’t know. She and her panelists talked rationally about issues that really mattered; maybe that’s what mattered to me.
Almost the entire PBS Newshour tonight was dedicated to her life and its impact on her profession and society. I watched it, but I am glad I recorded it, as well. I suspect that touching program will provide solace from time to time as I watch it again.
I’m saddened at her death. I have fond memories of Gwen Ifill and I know there is a deep, empty hole in the PBS Newshour that will be hard to fill. Hari Sreenivasan, who has been doing a fine job in her absence, may be her successor. If so, he will have incredibly big shoes to fill. I wish all of Gwen Ifill’s friends, family, and legions of fans the best in dealing with the grief of her loss.