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Veteran Journalist Honored With Black Heritage Stamp

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The U.S. Postal Service is putting the late Gwen Ifill on a stamp, honoring a journalist whose face and voice were known to millions.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GWEN IFILL: A Nobel Peace Prize shocker, plus Afghanistan health care and the Supreme Court tonight on "Washington Week."

NOEL KING, HOST:

Gwen Ifill was the first African American woman to host a nationally televised political talk show. She joined Judy Woodruff to be the first all-female anchor team on a TV network news program, "PBS NewsHour."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PBS NEWSHOUR")

IFILL: Good evening. I'm Gwen Ifill.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight, the pressure for military action intensified today in a...

INSKEEP: During decades in journalism, Gwen Ifill weathered intense political pressure. When she hosted a vice presidential debate, she faced false accusations of bias based on false descriptions of a book she was writing at the time. She was then played on "Saturday Night Live" by Queen Latifah.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

QUEEN LATIFAH: (As Gwen Ifill) As moderator, I will not ask any follow-up questions, so as not to appear biased for Barack Obama in light of my new book, "The Breakthrough: Politics Of Race."

INSKEEP: Whatever was said about her, Gwen Ifill was on camera, where people could see her fairness and decency for themselves.

ALLISON DAVIS: She touched my life because she was a damn good reporter. She is what everybody should aspire to be.

KING: That's Allison Davis, one of the founders of NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.

DAVIS: There are so many women, particularly women of color, who not only looked up to her but wanted to be just like her because she was an honorable woman, an honorable journalist who shared with everybody she met.

KING: And now Gwen Ifill is one of the few to be honored with a stamp.

DAVIS: I'm not so happy sometimes that we do this during Black History Month. She's historical, and she should be honored all the months of the year because that's the incredible legacy she leaves.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "WASHINGTON WEEK")

IFILL: And we'll see you again next week on "Washington Week." Good night.

KING: The Gwen Ifill commemorative stamp goes on sale today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.