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January 15, 2019

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer administers the oath of office to the National Press Club's new President, Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak

National Press Club, Washington

National Press Club, Washington

Photo: US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer administers the oath of office to the National Press Club’s new President, Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, at the inaugural gala.

WASHINGTON, January 14, 2019 — Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak took the oath of office as the new president of the National Press Club, the world’s leading professional organization for journalists, on Saturday, January 12, 2019. The club was founded in 1908. It has 3,100 members worldwide.

A three-time George Polk Award-winner throughout her lengthy career in both print and broadcast journalism, Kodjak was sworn into office by the Honorable Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Delivering her inaugural address from the Club’s historic Ballroom, Kodjak urged her fellow journalists to remain steadfast, focused and fearless in their search for the truth:

“Our neighbor down the road attacks our credibility and our character and calls us the enemy of the people,” said Kodjak. “But — those of us here in this room — know better. We journalists are not the enemy of the people. We are the advocates for the people.”

“A free and vibrant press is the basis of a successful democracy,” Kodjak continued. “We can’t have a representative democracy - government by the people - if the people don’t know what their government is doing.”

Kodjak pledged to uphold the work of her predecessors in advocating for press freedom worldwide and declared her desire to expand that critical work into the realm of freedom of information.

“Any journalist who covers government knows that - for years now - it’s been getting harder and harder to find out what our public servants are doing,” explained Kodjak. “When I was at Bloomberg — I was part of a team that successfully sued the Federal Reserve to get details about the bank bailouts in 2008. Moreover, at NPR (National Public Radio) we’re turning more and more to the courts to ensure that the Press and public have access to government information.”

Before joining NPR (National Public Radio) as their Health Policy Correspondent in 2015, Kodjak spent two years at the Center for Public Integrity, leading projects in financial, telecom, and political reporting. Before joining the Center, she spent more than a decade at Bloomberg News, where she wrote about the convergence of politics, government, and economics, and as part of Bloomberg’s investigative team, reported on the bankruptcy of General Motors Corp. and the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. A graduate of Georgetown University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Kodjak is also the co-author of the book “In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race that Took It Down,” published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

Source: National Press Club, Washington, DC

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