Lisa Nicole Matthews of the Associated Press, was elected the 114th president of the National Press Club, The World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™, on Friday, December 4, 2020.
Matthews, a 20-year veteran of the Associated Press, will officially assume the duties of the presidency in January 2021.
In her virtual acceptance speech before fellow members, Matthews acknowledged the myriad of challenges the Club faced in 2020, and the uncertainties that remain in the New Year.
“Our Club has been tested this year like never before. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make some very difficult decisions this year, and there may be more hard choices to come before we turn the corner, but I have no doubt that we will see this through.”
With a reassuring smile, Matthews celebrated the Club’s resilience and ability to adapt and grow despite the circumstances: “We have grown our membership, we have opened our doors to the public for curbside pickup and delivery from the press club restaurants, we’ve connected with the community through the Help The Heroes program – and I believe the pandemic has increased our ZOOM morale – if nothing else. Bringing us closer together despite the inability to meet in person.”
Turning her focus to the future, Matthews vowed to continue the Club’s efforts to elevate marginalized voices and recruit a more diverse membership.
She also pledged to use her platform as president to help combat misinformation and mistrust of the media, and to keep the focus on the Club’s vital function as an advocate for press freedom at home and abroad.
Over the course of her long career in journalism, Matthews has received two Edward R. Murrow Awards – one in 2002 for outstanding coverage of the events on September 11, 2001 and her second in 2010 for Video Continuing Coverage of the Economy.
Lisa Nicole Matthews also received the AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Spirit Award for service to clients in 2004. Born on Andrews Air Force Base and raised in the DMV, Matthews is a graduate of James Madison University where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1990.
A January 30th inaugural gala is planned for the new president of the Club, which was founded in 1908 and includes thousands of members worldwide.
Also elected in Friday’s Club elections were: Jen Judson (Defense News) as vice president; Eileen Drage O’Reilly (Axios) as treasurer; Gillian Rich (Investor’s Business Daily) as secretary; and Emily Wilkins (Bloomberg) as membership secretary.
Elected to the Board of Governors were: Kimberly Adams of Marketplace, Del Wilber of The Los Angeles Times, Michael Balsamo of the Associated Press, Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times, and Debra Silimeo of Silimeo Group.