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Conversations With Enrique Cerna

A Conversation With Gwen Ifill

PBS NewsHour Co-Anchor and Co-Managing Editor Gwen Ifill on covering race relations in America.

Editor’s note:
Nov. 14, 2016

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Gwen Ifill passed away today. When I began producing and hosting KCTS 9 podcasts, she was my first guest. Last year in early October, we met at a Bellevue hotel where she was preparing for an interview with Bill and Melinda Gates about education reform. She was warm and friendly and gave me all the time I needed for a wide-ranging conversation.

During the podcast, we talked about the town hall she had just moderated at the University of Missouri following the controversial shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. We discussed the difficulties of talking about race in America, but also about the importance of addressing our racial divisions.

Gwen made it clear that she loved getting out of what she called the “bubble” of Washington D.C. to cover stories and meet people elsewhere in the country.  She said she loved her job, loved journalism and covering politics. She felt honored that she was able to moderate two Vice Presidential debates and she was looking forward to covering the 2016 election. And she could laugh at herself. She thought it was hilarious that Queen Latifah played her in a 2008 Saturday Night Live skit about the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden debate.

Gwen Ifill was a role model for all journalists. She set a high standard for all of us in the industry. She will be missed. Rest in peace, Gwen.

—Enrique Cerna

Enrique Cerna talks with PBS NewsHour co-anchor and co-managing editor Gwen Ifill about coverage of race relations in America. Ifill moderated town halls on race and police relations in the aftermath of the Michael Brown police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and the deadly shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina church. In addition, Ifill shares her thoughts on the 2016 Presidential race, her work on NewsHour and Washington Week and being impersonated on Saturday Night Live.

Enrique Cerna and Gwen Ifill.

This is the premiere episode of the KCTS 9 Digital Studios Podcast. Enrique Cerna is KCTS 9’s Director of Community Partnerships. He is also a contributing producer for IN Close and moderator of Ask the Governor





Enrique Cerna

The son of Mexican immigrants, Enrique Cerna was born and raised in the Yakima Valley.  Enrique joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, produced and reported stories for national PBS programs in addition to local documentaries on social and juvenile justice, the environment and Latinos in Washington State.

Enrique has earned nine Northwest Emmy Awards and numerous other honors. In June, 2013, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional.

More stories by Enrique Cerna

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Thank you so much for sharing this interview with us. Gwen was not only a wonderful role model, and an inspiration to many, but she was a delight to listen to and to watch. Her personal history gave her an unusual insight into many of the stories on which she reported. She was an upbeat and strong woman which has become even more apparent in this past year.  Much of this comes through in this interview with you. Thanks for the timely airing.