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HOMEWOOD NATIVE JEFF BALLOU was guest speaker at a luncheon held at the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania building, Sept. 23. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

The media’s integrity is under attack, but that just means it should remain steadfast in truth-telling.

Those are the words of National Press Club President Jeff Ballou, a Homewood native, who spoke in Pittsburgh, Sept. 23, about press freedoms and the growing number of media attacks in today’s divisive political climate.

“You have to be able to stand on your work, without fear or favor.”

JEFF BALLOU

“You have to be able to stand on your work, without fear or favor,” he told the crowd of about 60 at the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania building, Downtown. He was the guest speaker at the luncheon with the theme, “Freeing the Press: Why Journalism Matters.”

Ballou is a news editor at Al Jazeera Media Network and the 110th president of the National Press Club, a membership-based organization of more than 3,100 journalists and communications professionals.

He became the first African American man to hold the position of president in the Washington, D.C.-based club’s 108-year history when he was inaugurated in January.

A Penn State alumnus who resides in D.C., Ballou began his speech in Pittsburgh this past Saturday with a homecoming “thank you” to the people who helped raise him and gave him the tools he needed to succeed in the media industry.

One of those early supporters was William Fisher, a luncheon attendee who was the principal at Taylor Allderdice High School when Ballou was enrolled. Ballou is a 1985 graduate.

Fisher’s guidance helped mold him into who he is today, Ballou said.

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