Gwen Ifill, superb journalist



One of my heroes died today.  Gwen Ifill, an astute, funny news reporter, host of PBS’ “Washington Week in Review” and cohost of the PBS “News Hour” died at 61.  I’m just sooo sad about this.  Bob and I together watch very little TV.  I need someone to narrate the visuals, so can’t do it independently, and Bob rarely watches anything regularly.  However, he’s been caught many times in random acts of watching, using with the sound muted, standing, planning to take a 10-minute break which turns into a half hour—all the time standing.

But “Washington Week in Review” was our show. We scheduled around it on Friday nights.  Recently I attended a conference that began on Friday night, ruining our mutual sharing of the show.  A friend offered Bob her hotel room while he waited for me, and uncharacteristically he accepted, because the bar he waited in didn’t have “Washington Week” on the TV.

We loved Gwen.  Without fail, at the end of the panel discussion, Bob and I stepped away, saying, “She is sooo great.”

She was insightful and incisive and energetic and wonderful at drawing out the four journalists asked to appear that week. She kept the discussion humming along and managed to add a point or clarify or correct, all with rare brevity.  And she was delightfully humorous and just so respectful.

In the past six months I’ve lost three dear friends, and today I’ve lost a hero. All who have appreciated the best possible fair, accurate news coverage must share my sadness.  RIP, beautiful soul, beautiful Gwen.

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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