I am shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Gwen Ifill.
As a well-respected journalist, Gwen broke barriers for many women of color including myself.
The picture I share is one of the highlights during my time as a student at Walter Cronkite School in Arizona State University.
This was in 2013. Gwen was a guest speaker at a school event.
Her topic was on diversity and inclusion in the news. Here’s the event video from that day.
Gwen Ifill: “Diversity and Inclusion in the News” from Cronkite School on Vimeo.
Before her appearance, Gwen wanted to meet with groups such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). When I heard she was coming, I knew I had to attend.
During the meeting, she answered our questions, talked about her journey, gave us some great tips and about having more diversity in the newsroom.
Gwen was a class act. She was kind enough to take photos with everyone that day. She took her time to talk to all of us about any questions we had.
To me, she was one of the nicest people I have ever met.
LESSONS FROM GWEN
As a woman of color, Gwen taught me not be afraid to ask the tough questions. She was also not afraid to be her unapologetic self in the society where women, especially Black and Latina women, are undermined and ignored in their contributions .
Even with her success, I loved how she was still humble and down to earth. She never forgot her New York roots.
While she may no longer be with us, her spirit lives on through our interventions in creating more stories about us in a medium that still undermines our contributions in journalism.
Stephanie Guzman is a digital producer at KMTV, the CBS affiliate in Omaha, NE. She’s also a 2015 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communications at Arizona State University, and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.