NABJ Congratulates Debate Moderator Gwen Ifill

by National Association of Black Journalists (BPRW)

NABJ Congratulates Gwen Ifill
'Washington Week' moderator set a steady hand, balanced tone at highly anticipated debate

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 2, 2008 - In what became one of the most anticipated vice presidential debates in American political history, journalist Gwen Ifill served with resilience, grace and tenacity; the traits of an exemplary debate moderator. The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) proudly commends its friend and colleague for unquestionable excellence.

Ifill, moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," moderated the only vice-presidential debate between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), and U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware. This is Ifill's second turn as moderator, having performed similar duties in 2004 with Vice President Richard Cheney (R) and U.S. Senator John Edwards (D) of North Carolina.

"Gwen set a steady hand, a sound voice and balanced tone through what became a civil debate between two history making rivals", said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. "We'd expect nothing less from one of our country's most highly-respected political journalists."

"I knew Gwen would be an excellent moderator," said NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Kathy Times. "I expect more NABJ members to be considered for this coveted role and on the campaign trail during the next election cycle."

Before contributing to PBS programs, Ifill served as political and Congressional correspondent for NBC News. She began her career in print - reporting on national and local affairs for The Washington Post, Baltimore Evening Sun, and Boston Herald American. Ifill is a regular panelist on NBC's "Meet the Press" - brought on by her close friend and mentor the late Tim Russert. Ifill will premiere her first book, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" on January 20, 2009.

"We're not only proud of Gwen's work, but her contribution in mentoring the next generation of journalists," said Ciara.

Ifill's stellar performance as moderator paves the way for future opportunities for Black journalists and others of color to participate more fully in coverage of Presidential elections. In July, with its annual Thumbs Down Award, NABJ noted how journalists of color were not represented proportionally in this coverage.

NABJ will discuss the history-making primary election and general election at its annual Conference on Political and Congressional Reporting. The three-day conference will take place Nov. 21-23 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 4,100 members, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.
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