This was how Gwen Ifill opened the special Cleveland Edition of Washington Week on April 4. I had an opportunity to meet her and see firsthand how the show is set up and televised. WVIZ/ Ideastream had asked me to photograph the broadcast as well as an evening cocktail party where Ms. Ifill met local executives, station supporters, and donors.
Gwen Ifill became moderator of Washington Week in 1999 which is PBS's longest running public affairs program. She also works as senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
The staff of Washington Week and WVIZ converted CSU's music hall into a temporary television studio for this special event. The broadcast audience was composed of students and Cleveland residents.
Ms. Ifill was accompanied by a round table of some of the nations top business and political reporters.
On stage were Alexis Simendinger, National Correspondent with the National Journal, John Dickerson, Chief Political Correspondent for Slate.com, Jeanne Cummings from the Wall Street Journal, and Michael Duffy, Assistant Managing Editor at Time Magazine.
Also in the audience was Sam Fullwood, Plain Dealer reporter and longtime friend of Ms. Ifill. He was introduced during the Cleveland edition broadcast of Washington Edition which gave the audience opportunity to pose questions to the panel. The sub prime mortgage meltdown, foreclosures, unemployment and the presidential race were some of the areas covered.
The evening before the broadcast Gwen visited Ideastream and met with community leaders and station benefactors. She spoke to the guests about her years in journalism and fielded questions from the floor about working in Washington, politics and the upcoming election.
The complete April 4th, 2008 Washington Week broadcast can be seen in the archive at the WVIZ/Ideastream site.