Nationally recognized journalist to speak at Martin Luther King event

MCKEESPORT, Pa. – Penn State Greater Allegheny will welcome Jeff Ballou, news editor for the Americas at Al Jazeera Media Network’s English language channel, to its Martin Luther King Day of Service event at 9:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in the Ostermayer Room of the Student Community Center.   

man sitting next to the Nittany lion shrine at university park
Credit: Jeff Ballou

Ballou will deliver the keynote address, “The ABC’s of Every Lion Counts”, a reflection on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s last and big question, “Where do we go from here?” 

“The year 2020 is a pivotal year in so many ways,” shared Ballou.  “My remarks will use Dr. King’s remarks as a prism to address how we must take a hard look at how to correct the declining access to an education, hunger, a lack of civility and strengthen our student, alumni and broader community.” 

Following Ballou’s address, students from Penn State Greater Allegheny, Penn State Beaver, Penn State Fayette – the Eberly Campus, Penn State DuBois and Penn State New Kensington will volunteer at various community sites to experience and understand the importance of civic engagement and community building.   

Ballou, a Pittsburgh native, graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School and started his college experience at Penn State McKeesport before moving to University Park where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and African American studies. He also earned a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University with concurrent graduate studies at Howard University.   

Ballou served as the 110th and the first African American male president of the National Press Club in 2017. He has received several professional honors from the Radio Television Digital News Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Associated Press.

The event is for Penn State students.