Among the Noise, Silence

Gwen_Ifill_PBS_Newshour_cropped_retouchedAmong all the recent political noise, a piece of silence has been noticed by many. The silence is the missing voice of Gwen Ifill, one of the PBS (Public Broadcasting System) Newshour’s co-hosts (two main reporters), who died on Monday, November 14.

Gwen, an award-winning journalist (news reporter), was the first African American woman to host a major political talk show, Washington Week. She and Judy Woodruff were the first women to co-host a major news program, the PBS Newshour.

Since her death, many people have written about her. When you read their comments, you see a good reporter, a good person, a friend to many people, even people who hadn’t met her. She enjoyed life, and when she smiled, the room she was in got brighter. Here, to celebrate (say good about) and learn from this special woman, are a few of the things people wrote (some have been revised (changed) to make them shorter or easier to read):

Gwen was always the one famous person I wanted to have for dinner. I know she would love us and our friends. She would be her beautiful, smart, insightful (wise), kind and generous self, and we would not feel intimidated (afraid) or dumb. I never met her face to face, yet I feel like I have lost a close friend (Martha Richards).

How do you explain the deep friendship you feel for someone you’ve never met, but know in your heart that you’d love her even more if given the opportunity? Her loss is incalculable (can’t be measured), such a brilliant smile, a mind to match that smile, a sense of humanity (kindness, respect) that was ever-present in every minute of her time on air; she was the genuine article (real) (boxerlover).

Gwen has been my idol (someone you want to be like) since I was a young girl growing up in South Texas and wanted to become a reporter. My parents made me watch the PBS news shows every Friday night. I still carry the letter Gwen (or her staff, but that’s OK) sent me after I hand-wrote her a letter of appreciation as a middle schooler (Katherine Fuller).

My heart is heavy and my soul has been fractured (broken). I have admired this lady from afar for many years. Her grace (kindness), beauty, intellect, integrity, and professionalism is unparalleled (not equaled). I certainly hope the young ladies of today were watching, particularly those looking to become journalists (Sherail Boswell).

One does not need to be Black, young, or a journalist to consider Gwen a mentor (teacher) and a role model (someone to be like). She is the kind of person I strive (work hard) to be. My unreachable goal is to be as smart, well-informed, and articulate (able to speak) as her, while being able to discuss complex (difficult) and often controversial (disagreeable) subjects while maintaining a pleasant demeanor (manner) and a great sense of humor (Char Berry).

I always admired Gwen’s skills as a journalist and news anchor, and I was not at all surprised to learn that she was as wonderful behind the scenes as in front of a camera. And so alive! I remember her as giddy (excited) as a schoolgirl at a Beatles concert. Her joy at meeting them was off the charts (couldn’t be described) (Thomas Calhoun).

You can learn more about Gwen from this article and this short interview.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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4 Responses to Among the Noise, Silence

  1. Hilario says:


    Some feathers and other rumour tellers and manipulators, find difficult not to think with their stomachs instead of reasoning with their heads the real facts and are just a mere gift for the fool’s ears.

    Even not being an American and thus not to have been a radio listener of PBS´ locutor Gwen Ifill, I can still appreciate when listening to her that noble attitude and soft manners when she communicates. She entirely gives the sensation that she focus carefully listening while staring her locutor, then duly thoroughly thinks what she’s going to say and no doubt says what she thinks.

    No one great dies so easy while so many remember them, they just step back to allow followers go their path.

  2. Tania says:

    Very nice article with a lot of new phrases how to describe an important person.
    Thank you.

  3. Tania says:

    Our new blog friend, Hilario, is a wonderful person.
    I like very much your posts.
    Don’t leave us!

  4. emiliano says:

    “She enjoyed life, and when she smiled, the room she was in got brighter”

    It is what everyone of us would like to listen once we will not be here, now that my spouse still
    is living it is just what I could say about her too.

    She is not a journalist as the woman mentioned above who seems to have been
    extraordinary as professional and human, but Cuca is also a wise person who illuminate
    my soul with one smile and now that is not home illuminate some of the old souls that are
    living with her.
    Along my life I have met persons that illuminate the place where they are, like this
    journalist, other dark the air with its presence, why?. Is there any explanation?.
    May be the first are touched by God and the other by the devil?.

    Sometime the best past away and other remain, not any sense about it but life is so.


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