Time: 12:41 a.m. CEST
Gwen Ifill, one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, has died, according to PBS. She was 61, the National Public Radio reports. Ifill was first African-American woman to host a major political TV talk. Ifill moderated a presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Ifill was also the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, NPR says. In a news conference, President Obama praised Ifill’s reporting even when she posed tough questions to him.
“She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibility of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work,” Obama said. Journalist Ray Suarez, who began working at NewsHour on the same day as Ifill in 1999, told Here & Now that Ifill was a mix of things, NPR says.
Ifill was a preacher’s daughter. She was born in New York City to a Panamanian immigrant father and a Barbadian mother. She started her journalism career as a print reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American. She went on to become a national political reporter for The Washington Post and the White House correspondent for The New York Times. Ifill died after a battle with cancer.