National Press Club

A “Club of Champions”: Time to suit up for big plays!

Jeff Ballou | September 7, 2017

Happy September, fellow members, or should I say, teammates.

Some of you have been away with your families. Others have been reporting and communicating non-stop all year with no break in sight. We started off with a bang dealing with unwarranted attacks on journalism which continue. Now many of us are reporting in harm’s way with hurricanes, hate crime marches and military conflicts. Others are trying to make sense for news consumers of the rapidly changing security challenges that face our world. Thank you for placing yourselves on the front lines to tell the truth without fear or favor.

THE PLAYBOOK AHEAD AND YOUR ROLE IN IT
Thanks to your individual and collective support we have had, by and large, a successful year. But we’re far from mailing it in for the homestretch. As your ‘coach’ for the year, I am very thankful for the tremendous teamwork displayed to defend our profession, our members and keep the club’s programming going strong. As we go deeper into the year and drive harder towards the goalpost, your help is needed now more than ever to have a winning “club of champions.”

First, some updates followed by a request from our team leaders for a few more players to suit up and help in some strategic areas.

HOUSE AND BAR TEAM:
New furniture in the Reliable Source, 14th floor locker room/bathroom renovations on tap! One of the most noticeable areas of improvement in the club is our physical plant. Before taking office my predecessor Tommy Burr had some improvements on lighting, walls and the floor in the Reliable Source. We have been taking it further with an extensive to-do list which includes adding outlets to the bar, brand new chairs in the Reliable Source, better offerings at the bar and improvements to the Ballroom and Holeman Lounge.

Many of you have also spoken loud and clear on the need to revisit our 14th floor restrooms and locker rooms. We are responding with rolling upgrades in the coming months to the 14th floor member-level restrooms and locker rooms, including a dedicated mothers' room on the ladies side, new showers, lockers, sinks, commodes, the works. We are also looking at even more upgrades to our food and beverage offerings and tackling what has become known as ‘freelancers alley.’ If you wish to help team captain Paul Merrion, team member Peter Urban and Board Vice-Chair Derek Wallbank in lending your expertise to any of these improvements, drop me a line on president@press.org and we’ll see if we can plug you into the playbook.

HEADLINERS:
From Misty Copeland and the chair of the Freedom Caucus to the head of the Teamsters, interim CEO of the NAACP and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Headliners team leaders Lisa Matthews and Betsy Fischer Martin continue to lead wonderful efforts on behalf of the club. We have the head of the National Education Association who will address DACA, and the FDA commissioner will speak to the latest in drug development, access and safety.

We could, however, use a few more teammates to land key headliners like the Speaker of the House, some heads of state, or others in the news. Our headliners team is very strong, but if you have an amazing rolodex, are plugged into the power-centers of Washington, and can juggle many strands of outreach, then the booking subteam may be your place. Are you a gifted newswriter or communicator with great media contacts around town? If so, the promotions subteam needs your help. Are you able to be at the Club frequently? Do you have a good sense of the membership? Do you have strong research or question writing skills? Then the Prep and Host subteam would like to utilize your skills. Write me at president@press.org; perhaps there’s room for you to take the field and help your club score some great headliners.

EVENTS: A WINERY, THE SPELLING BEE, WOMEN STORYTELLERS AND A PITTSBURGH HOMECOMING
We have some great events on the calendar, such as a visit to Greenhill Winery on Sept. 16... The ever popular press vs politicians spelling bee on Sept. 26 where Art Swift will try to defend his title...and on Oct. 12, cocktails and conversation followed by women storytellers such as Luvvie Ajayi, Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach at the Warner Theater. The events team can use a few more members to help plan similar exchanges with the Kennedy Center and Arena Stage. Drop me a line and we’ll work to see if you can contribute.

To register for the Greenhill Winery brunch and trip, log onto your NPC online account and click here.

To buy tickets so you can watch the spelling bee, log onto your NPC online account and click here.

For cocktails and women storytellers, log onto your NPC online account, click here for limited tickets.

MEET ME IN PITTSBURGH FOR A HOMECOMING!
The Press Clubs of Western Pennsylvania have invited clubs throughout the Commonwealth and you to a homecoming luncheon in my honor in Pittsburgh. In store are an afternoon of great food, fun and some remarks on how we need to remain vigilant guarding freedom of the press. If you wish to chip in towards a bus, please write Laura Coker, manager of the office of club president at lcoker@press.org

HAPPENINGS FROM THE NPC JOURNALISM INSTITUTE:
Oct. 4 - THE FOURTH ESTATE AWARD HONORING MIKE WILBON AND TONY KORNHEISER
During a year where politics seems to dominate the conversation, one of the central places where people from all walks of life can discuss issues on and off the field is sports. Two of the best storytellers in the sports arena are Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.
Bob Woodward, and ESPN president John Skipper will help celebrate Mike and Tony’s lifetime of work as they receive the annual Fourth Estate Award on Oct. 4 at the club. We will raise money for freedom of the press, journalism scholarships and training. Tickets and sponsorships are available for purchase here.

You may also write Julie Schoo at the National Press Club Journalism Institute per the official announcement for more information at jschoo@press.org

Sept. 11 - EL PASO SCREENING
Noting that the NPCJI’s Aubuchon award is being shared by Mexico’s brave journalists and the White House Correspondents Association, they are hosting a screening and panel discussion of “El Paso” featuring Mexican journalist Martin Mendez Pineda and moderated by John Donnelly, our Press Freedom Chair. Ticket information is here.

PHOTO TEAM:
The members’ photo exhibit is now up and will be on display in the club lobby during the entire month of September. Take a look at the extraordinary work of your fellow members!

BROADCAST TEAM:

The Broadcast team has two legends dinners on tap. First, longtime barrier-breaking journalist Maureen Bunyan on Oct. 5 and then the duo of Barbara and John Cochran on Nov. 13. Tickets are available for dinner with Maureen Bunyan here.

THE KALB REPORT:
The new season of the Kalb Report will kick off Oct. 16 with an exciting duo! We will be joined by club member and Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron alongside his colleague and competition, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet. Watch the NPC Wire and our website for ticket information.

DINNER WITH AN AMBASSADOR:
The International Correspondents Team will soon roll out a series of Ambassador dinners at the club featuring Q&A for a podcast. Watch the NPC wire and our website for more details.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING:
Oct. 13 will be the fall general membership meeting. We’ll review the year to date and look ahead to what your leadership has in store for you.