“Our lead tonight is news we hoped we’d never have to report,” announced anchor Judy Woodruff at the beginning of last night’s PBS NewsHour, the first following news earlier that day that co-anchor Gwen Ifill had died.
“Our managing editor, my co-anchor and dear friend, Gwen Ifill, died earlier today after an almost yearlong battle with cancer,” Woodruff said, trying to keep tears at bay. “She was a supernova in a profession loaded with smart and talented people. So, it’s no surprise that messages of condolence have flooded in all afternoon from across the journalism and political spectrum.”
She began with President Obama’s remarks, and the show continued with panels of NewsHour staff, contributors, and other media figures that knew her well, talking about what Ifill’s presence in their lives meant to them.
They included the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter, CBS’ John Dickerson, journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, The Undefeated’s Kevin Merida, Rev. William Lamar IV, STAT’s Rick Berke, NBC News’ Pete Williams, The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty and the New York Times’ Yamiche Alcindor.
They tried, with varying levels of success, to keep it together as they shared their own deeply personal remembrances of Ifill.
And as Hari Sreenivasan and Woodruff ended the hour after playing a segment of an interview Ifill gave to Michele Norris, even Woodruff’s spare closer was too much. “For all of us at the PBS NewsHour, Gwen, we love you,” and here her voice wavered, “we’ll miss you, and we know all of you in our audience will, too.”
You can watch the full hour below.