National Press Club

Ballou makes history as he is elected Club president

December 11, 2016 | By Yasmine El-Sabawi |

The new Club officers and Board of Governors.

The new Club officers and Board of Governors.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Al-Jazeera Media Network news editor Jeff Ballou was elected National Press Club president, the first African-American male to lead the organization and the first to represent a non-U.S. news outlet. He will take office in January.

Ballou said he was “deeply humbled and honored” to step into the role. Sheila Cherry, who served in 2004, was the first African-American to lead the Club.

“I am the bookend, at least for African-Americans, the dividend recipient of more than a century of toil and sacrifice,” said Ballou, 49, as he thanked his late parents, his “Pittsburgh values," and his mentors in journalism.

Ballou moved to Washington in 1990 and joined the Club in 1992. He was elected to the Board in 2012 and currently serves as vice president.

Among his priorities will be "strengthening the bond among members," attracting top newsmakers, providing professional development and fighting for press freedom, including convening a summit of news organizations.

“The Press Club, when it speaks, it must speak with authority, it must speak with power, it must speak deliberately, and it must be very measured,” he said.

Also elected Friday were Andrea Snyder Edney of Bloomberg as vice president, Jen Judson of Defense News as secretary, Ferdous “Danny” Al-Faruque of the Gray Sheet as treasurer, Michele Salcedo of the Associated Press as membership secretary.

Al-Faruque was elected via write-in ballots and will have to resign his seat on the Board of Governors when he becomes Club treasurer. The Board then will appoint a replacement who will serve until the next election.

Elected to the Board for three-year terms as Journalist members were Patrick Host of Defense Daily and Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak of National Public Radio. Erik Meltzer of the AP was elected to fill a one-year unexpired term.

Racepoint Global Vice President Lindsay Murphy was elected to three-year term as a non-voting Communicator member of the Board.