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National Press Club Head to Speak in Pittsburgh, Address Media Attacks
Steel City Native Jeff Ballou Also Will Discuss Role as Editor at Al Jazeera

National Press Club President Jeff Ballou will return to his hometown Sept. 23 to discuss his role helming one of the world’s leading journalism organizations as attacks on the press grow.

During “Freeing the Press:  Why Journalism Matters,” Ballou will address journalists from press organizations statewide at a luncheon set for noon to 2 p.m. at the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania building, 337 Fourth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Downtown).

A Washington, D.C., resident, Ballou will talk about why political tactics “in calling factual journalism false are an attack on the Constitution that endangers us all and what we should do about it.”

At least 66 journalists in the U.S. have been attacked, arrested, stopped at a border, threatened or denied access in 2017, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a coalition of groups that advocate for an open press (pressfreedomtracker.us).

Ballou is a news editor at Al Jazeera Media Network and the 110th president of the National Press Club.  He became the first African-American man to hold the position of president in the club’s 108-year history when he was inaugurated in January.

Ballou helped launch Al Jazeera Media Network’s English language channel in 2006 and the channel’s State Department and congressional beats.  He is part of a global editorial leadership team.

Ballou previously worked at WTTG-TV/FOX 5 DC, C-SPAN, WAMU, WTOP and National Public Radio.

He grew up in Homewood and graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School.  He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and African-American studies from Penn State University, and a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University.  He got his start as an intern at Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV and radio.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and serves nearly 3,000 members worldwide through headliner events, professional development programs and press freedom advocacy.

The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh and Online News Association Pittsburgh are sponsoring the luncheon.

Tickets are discounted at $25 each for members of the sponsoring organizations, as well as the Pittsburgh Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  Non-members pay $30 per person. 

Space is limited.  Make reservations via Paypal at westernpapressclub.org/calendar.  For updates, follow the press clubs on Facebook.
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