Award-winning television producer and news editor Jeff Ballou was sworn in Jan. 14 as the 110th president of the National Press Club, becoming the first Black man to hold that position.

Jeff Ballou, new president of the National Press Club looks forward to a term of emphasizing the importance of the press. (Photo credit: Noel St John, National Press Club)

The club, founded in 1908 and based in Washington, D.C., is a professional organization and business center for thousands of U.S. and international journalists and communications professionals. Ballou previously served as the club’s vice president.

“As long as I’ve known Jeff, he has been an ambassador for the National Press Club,” said immediate past president Thomas Burr. “I can’t think of anyone better to lead the press club now than him.”

Currently a media news editor for Al Jazeera, Ballou is also a life-time member of the National Association of Black Journalists and serves as a mentor for several journalists of color. He was a producer for Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG, and also worked at the CONUS news service, D.C. radio station WTOP-AM and C-SPAN.

Ballou is a graduate of Penn State University and holds a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Prince Hall Freemasons.

During his inaugural speech at the sold-out “Club of Champions” gala on Jan. 14, Ballou addressed recent concerns about the freedom of the press and the preservation of the First Amendment rights under the incoming Trump administration.

“Look, most folks know that I’m a diplomat,” he said. “I’m not someone who spoils for a fight. But if you come for our club, for our profession, for press freedom, or god forbid, for the lives and well-being of our colleagues around the world…we will call you out. This club, like its members, is at its best when it speaks truth to power.”