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Award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill, who helped pave the way for black and female journalists, has died today at age 61. According to her employer PBS NewsHour, Ifill died of cancer.
Born in New York City and the daughter of a preacher, Ifill started her career reporting for Baltimore and Boston papers in the late 1970s—a time when there were few women or black people covering politics in the newsroom. She eventually moved on to the Washington Post, the New York Times, and NBC News, and was currently the moderator for PBS’s Washington Week and the co-anchor of the station’s NewsHour. Most recently, she and fellow NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff moderated a Democratic Primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Many online, both journalists and fans, are paying tribute to Ifill, who was one of the first black journalists to ever anchor a political news show.
So saddened to learn that Gwen Ifill has passed away far too soon. She was an icon for women in journalism — definitely for me
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) November 14, 2016
Very dark day when the rise of a white supremacist media mogul is followed by the death of Gwen Ifill. Media: Hire more women of color. Now.
— Liliana Segura (@LilianaSegura) November 14, 2016
Gwen Ifill was an American treasure. First rate journalist, lovely person, brilliant woman. She will be missed.
— Touré (@Toure) November 14, 2016
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.