Al-Jazeera Media Network news editor Jeff Ballou took his oath of office as president of the National Press Club at his sold-out inauguration the night of Saturday, Jan. 14. According to a release, “Congratulatory video messages came in from Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and Ballou’s beloved Pittsburgh Penguins.
“98-year-old Simeon Booker, who in 1982 became the first African-American journalist to win the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Award, joined Ballou on stage for the swearing-in. Also displayed on the table was the historic marble gavel George Washington used in 1793 to lay the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.”
Ballou, 49, is the first African-American male to lead the organization and the first to represent a non-U.S. news outlet.
Regarding the far more elaborate U.S. presidential inauguration taking place for the incoming administration “that has shown hostility to the press, Ballou vowed to fight for the rights and integrity of journalists at home in the same way the fight has long been taken to foreign governments,” stated NPC.
“If you come for our Club, if you come for our profession… we will call you out, we will defend our colleagues, because this Club, at its best, speaks truth to power,” Ballou said.
(Pictured above is a 2015 photo of Ballou when he was elected vice president of National Press Club.)