Dendritic cells (DCs) produce type I interferons (IFNs) in greater amounts than other cells, but the mechanisms remain elusive. Here we studied the role of a transcription factor, IRF8, in DC induction of type I IFNs. Upon newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection, bone marrow-derived plasmacytoid and conventional DCs induced IFN transcripts, exhibiting two-phase kinetics. The second, amplifying phase represented an IFN feedback response that accounted for much of IFN protein production. Induction of second phase transcription required IRF8. Mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) and Toll-like receptor-mediated IFN induction in DCs also required IRF8. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showed that IRF7, IRF8, and RNA polymerase II were recruited to the IFN promoters upon stimulation. Moreover, sustained RNA polymerase II recruitment to the promoters critically depended on IRF8. Together, these data indicate that IRF8 magnifies the second phase of IFN transcription in DCs by prolonging binding of basic transcription machinery to the IFN promoters, thereby playing a role in innate immunity.