National Press Club

Former Club presidents Burr, Hughes win top volunteer honors

January 9, 2018 | By Mark Schoeff Jr. | markschoeff@gmail.com

National Club President Jeff Ballou, left, with members of the Headliners Team, to which he presented a President's Award at the Club's Vivian Awards ceremony Jan. 8. Left to right are  Betsy Fischer Martin and Lisa Matthews (co-chairs), Jamie Horwitz and Lori Russo.

National Club President Jeff Ballou, left, with members of the Headliners Team, to which he presented a President's Award at the Club's Vivian Awards ceremony Jan. 8. Left to right are Betsy Fischer Martin and Lisa Matthews (co-chairs), Jamie Horwitz and Lori Russo.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Two former National Press Club presidents took the Club’s top volunteer awards at a Jan. 8 ceremony in the Holeman Lounge.

Thomas Burr, a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune and the 2016 Club president, won the Berny Krug Award, which recognizes the Club’s exceptional volunteer.

John Hughes, a Bloomberg News editor, won the John Cosgrove Award, which is given to a former Club president who embodies the spirit and devotion to the Club of the late Cosgrove, an iconic Club presence who was the 1961 president. Hughes was the 2015 Club president.

Incumbent Club President Jeff Ballou views the two awards and their recipients in tandem. He credited Burr and Hughes with helping the Club make major advances in press freedom advocacy and in fiscal stability.

“These two set this Club on solid financial footing, solidified membership, helped bring [Washington Post reporter] Jason Rezaian home [from prison in Iran] and did so many wonderful things to help make this Club special,” Ballou said.

The event centered on bestowing this year’s 55 Vivian Awards to the Club’s outstanding volunteers. The award is named after Vivian Vahlberg, the Club’s first woman president, who served in 1982.

Vahlberg could not attend the ceremony but did send an email greeting that Ballou read to the audience.

“The National Press Club would not be the wonderful and important place it is without your dedication, inspiration and hard work,” Vahlberg wrote.

Ballou also presented two President’s Awards. One was to the Headliners Team, which was formed
this year from the previous Book & Author, Newsmaker and Speakers committees. The recipients were Betsy Fischer Martin and Lisa Matthews, the Headliners co-chairs, as well as Jamie Horwitz, Heather Forsgren Weaver and Lori Russo.

“It takes a lot of work for myself or one of my designees to put somebody on the hot seat for an hour,” Ballou said of the events that the Headliners Team organized and executed.

The other President’s Award went to a group that has led the ongoing Club renovations, which have included replacing the chairs in the Reliable Source and upgrading the restrooms, among several other projects. The recipients were Paul Merrion, chair of the House Team, Peter Urban, a House Team member, and Derek Wallbank, the Club board liaison to the House Team.

The 2017 Vivian Award winners are Adam Konowe, Al Teich, Alan Bjerga, Alan Kotok, Ally Harpootlian, Andrea Snyder Edney, Andy Fisher, Angela Greiling Keane, Antonella Ciancio, Aprill Turner, Bill McCloskey, Bill Miller, Cary Pollack, Danny Selnick, Deanna McCray James, Donna Leinwand Leger, Emily Wilkins, Frank Aukofer, Gil Klein, Jacquelyn Kasuya, Jan Du Plain, Joan Coyle, John Donnelly, Jonathan Salant, Joseph Luchok, Justin Duckham, Ken Dalecki, Kevin Wensing, Kimberly Adams, Lindsay Law Murphy, Lorna Aldrich, Louise Walsh, Mark Hamrick, Mark Schoeff Jr., Mike Hempen, Monique McSween, Myron Belkind, Naomi Weiss, Nicole Cober, Nikki Schwab, Noel St. John, Nyree Wright, Paul Minehart, Sean McMinn, Sho Chandra, Stacey Samuel, Tamara Hinton, Tammy Lytle Ilaria, Timothy Brown, Tom Risen, Veronica Vaquer, Wes Pippert, Will Lester, Will Watson, Yasmine El-Sabawi.