Journalist members of the National Press Club elected Jeff Ballou as their 110th president on Friday, December 9. Ballou, a news editor at Al Jazeera Media Network and the Club’s current vice-president will be the first African-American male to be president in the Club’s 108-year history. Ballou will take office on Jan. 13, 2017 and will be inaugurated at the “Club of Champions” inaugural gala on Jan. 14, 2017.
“I am deeply humbled, honored and privileged to step into a role made possible by brave pioneers, some who didn’t have the chance to belong, let alone be president. I only hope and pray that the service our team renders is worthy of their sacrifice. As a man from modest beginnings in Pittsburgh, I am quite simply an ordinary man with extraordinary blessings,” said Ballou, 50, at the National Press Club’ Reliable Source Bar during the election night celebration.
A National Press Club member since 1992, Ballou was first elected to the National Press Club’s board of governors in 2012. He aims for this administration to be known for “strengthening the bond among members, attracting and quizzing the top newsmakers, fiercely guarding press freedom, maintaining fiscal stability, augmenting professional development, growing our businesses and striving for the utmost operational efficiency.”
“Our profession is under attack,” Ballou said. “The work, voice, safe harbor and fellowship of the National Press Club are needed now, more than ever. We are seeing some of the finest journalism of our time covering the biggest stories of our time. But faith in journalism is shaken in part by those pretending to be us and lying while doing it. We have to push back and reassert our role as guardians of truthful, solid, informative and in some cases dangerous reporting. Our team will maintain the National Press Club role as the world’s oldest, leading and well-regarded conveners and promoters of excellence in journalism and communications.”
National Press Club members also elected Andrea Snyder Edney, of Bloomberg as vice president, Ferdous “Danny” Al-Faruque, a reporter for The Gray Sheet as treasurer; Jen Judson, a reporter at Defense News as secretary; and Michele Salcedo, an editor in the Associated Press Washington Bureau as membership secretary. Elected as a journalist member of the Board of Governors to a three-year term is Defense Daily reporter Patrick Host. National Public Radio’s Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak was re-elected to a second, three-year term and the Associated Press’s Erik Meltzer will serve a one-year term, finishing out Al-Faruque’s vacated seat.
Remaining journalist board members include Michael Freedman, executive producer of the The Kalb Report and a senior vice president at the University of Maryland University College; Derek Wallbank, an editor at Bloomberg First Word; and Ken Mellgren, retired from the Associated Press.
The Club’s communicator members elected Lindsay Murphy, vice president at Racepoint Global, as a communicator member of the board for a three-year term. Tom McMahon, of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and Ed Barks of Barks Communications also serve on the board.