Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced today that Gwen Ifill, an American political journalist, broadcast news anchor and author, is the recipient of the 2016 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. Ifill is co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour” and moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.” As one of the country’s most trusted political reporters, Ifill is in the midst of covering her eighth presidential election and moderated two vice presidential debates over the course of her career, posing difficult questions with respect and integrity.
The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a journalist for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor. Selected by a nine-member committee, Ifill receives the 2016 award with a $50,000 honorarium. For the first time since the prize was founded in 1995, the amount of the honorarium will increase from $25,000 to $50,000. Ifill is the first African American to receive the award in its 21-year history.
The award will be presented at a dinner and ceremony at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.
“Gwen Ifill’s career embodies the best of our profession and the spirit of the John Chancellor Award: her unflinching pursuit of the truth, healthy skepticism of those in power and her commitment to fairness,” said Dean Steve Coll, a member of the Chancellor jury.
In 2013, PBS named Ifill and Judy Woodruff co-anchors of “PBS NewsHour,” the first women co-anchors of a network news broadcast. Each week on Washington Week, Ifill also leads a robust roundtable discussion with award-winning journalists who provide reporting and analysis of the major stories coming out of the capital. Washington Week is the longest-running U.S. prime-time news and public affairs program on television.
“Gwen is among our nation’s most accomplished, distinguished journalists, and her insightful reporting and news analysis are an extraordinary service to the American public,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcasting station in the nation’s capital. “On behalf of Gwen’s colleagues at WETA — home of “PBS NewsHour” and “Washington Week” — I congratulate her on receiving this tremendous award.”
In addition to anchoring daily and weekly news broadcasts, Ifill moderates town hall meetings on PBS, coordinating respectful dialogue about current issues while crossing contentious lines and challenging assumptions. Recent town halls include “Questions for President Obama” in June 2016, “America After Charleston,” held in September 2015 just blocks from where a white gunman shot and killed nine African-American parishioners in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and “America After Ferguson,” broadcast in September 2014, which explored the complex questions raised around race, class and identity in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ifill is the best-selling author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”
Before joining “PBS NewsHour” and “Washington Week” in 1999, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for The New York Times, and a local and national political reporter for The Washington Post. She also reported for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American. Her work as a journalist has been honored by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center, and Ebony Magazine. In 2015 she was awarded the National Press Club’s highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award.
She has received more than 25 honorary doctorates and currently serves on the boards of the News Literacy Project and the Committee to Protect Journalists. She is a fellow with the American Academy of Sciences. Born in New York City, Ifill graduated from Simmons College in Boston.
The John Chancellor Award was established in 1995 by Ira A. Lipman, founder of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world’s largest security service firms. The jury is chaired by Lynn Sherr, and in addition to Lipman includes Dean Steve Coll, Dean Emeritus Nicholas Lemann, Hank Klibanoff, Michele Norris, Bill Wheatley and Mark Whitaker, as well as John Chancellor’s daughter Mary Chancellor.
Columbia Journalism School administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for reporting on the Americas. For over a century, the journalism school has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
Source: Columbia Journalism School