Robert Ames Alden retired from the Washington Post in 2000 after more than 48 years as an editor, making him the longest-serving editor in the paper’s history. As night news editor in 1963, he put together the Post's first extra edition since Pearl Harbor to cover the assassination of President Kennedy. As world news editor in 1974, he was the principal architect for the Post’s coverage of the resignation of President Nixon. Culminating a seven-year effort in 1975, he co-founded and later led the National Press Foundation to improve journalism education. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was the leading male advocate for the admission of women into the National Press Club, where he served as president in 1976.
The first native Washingtonian to lead the Press Club, he began his career as a sportswriter for the Cleveland Press in 1947. He helped innovate the use of more statistics in baseball coverage and was an award-winning writer. He was a visionary community leader in planning a green, central park, library, outdoor stage, community center and theater for McLean, VA, whose Alden Theatre carries his name. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from the George Washington University, where he won the university's top history award as a student for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2005, university officials bestowing a distinguished alumnus award described Alden as “a living legend” in Washington journalism.
James Ronald Fisher is an honors graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and retired Navy Captain. Also, he is Founder and Executive Director of WeThePeopleNow.org, an engineer, businessman, church and community leader, and civil rights advocate. Fisher’s 30 years of military service includes 15 nuclear submarine patrols during the Cold and Vietnam Wars. Also, he managed the overhaul and repair of nuclear submarines and inspections of almost every major naval command as the Assistant Naval Inspector General for Logistics on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations. His Navy work also included collateral duties as a prosecutor, defense counsel and summary court martial officer. His Navy awards include the Legion of Merit.
As a civilian, he worked at two engineering services firms. He founded and led the Defense Fire Protection Association to improve the safety and survivability of U.S. military forces. Also, he founded and led the Veterans Sales and Services Corporation (VetSS), which specialized in hiring disabled veterans. His web site has, among other things, plans to end US wars and occupation, put more Americans to work and reform financial systems. In politics, he was chairman of the Northern Virginia Presidential primary campaign for his classmate John McCain in 2000, and held the same post in 2008 for Dennis Kucinich. He was first in his class in Submarine, Nuclear Power and Basic Engineering Duty Officer Schools and is the author of numerous research papers.
John Edward Hurley is Chairman of the McClendon News Group, which is named for the legendary White House correspondent Sarah McClendon and meets in the McClendon Room at the National Press Club. His career in the journalism and non-profit world has included his work with the major media as a White House correspondent, as a commentator on News Talk America, and as a member of the Public Information Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to his work with the major media, he is a past Commander of the National Press Club's American Legion Post; developed the public relations program that brought together the various breed registries that comprise the American Horse Council; and was a long-time sponsor of the Rappahannock Hunt and the Thornton Hill Hounds.
He also is President and Chairman of the Confederate Memorial Association's museum and library, the historian for the John Barry Division of the Hibernians, and a co-founder of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable. Additionally, he is on the Public Relations Committee of the Medical Musical Group (www.mmg.org), a symphony orchestra made up of doctors and care-givers in the Veterans Administration Hospitals that perform worldwide concerts to benefit our veterans. Throughout his career, he has had a special interest in the integrity of the court system and has hosted many news events on the subject, which have included coverage by C-SPAN from the National Press Club.
Andrew Kreig is Justice Integrity Project Executive Director and co-founder. Andrew Kreig has two decades experience as an attorney and non-profit executive in Washington, DC. An author and longtime investigative reporter, his primary focus since 2008 has been exploring allegations of official corruption and other misconduct in the federal government. Also, he has been a consultant and volunteer leader in advising several non-profit groups fostering cutting-edge applications within the communications industries. Between 2008 and 2016, he was an affiliated research fellow with the Information Economy Project at George Mason University School of Law. From 2009 to 2012, he was also a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and a half dozen journalism societies, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Press Club and the Overseas Press Club of America.
As president and CEO of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) from 1996 until 2008, Kreig led its worldwide advocacy that helped create the broadband wireless industry. He has lectured about communications on five continent, and co-keynoted the annual Futures Summit of the National Association of Broadcasters. Previously, he was WCA vice president and general counsel, an associate at Latham & Watkins, law clerk to a federal judge, author of the book Spiked about the newspaper business, and a longtime reporter for the Hartford Courant. He holds excellent ratings from the lawyer-rating services Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World from the mid-1990s and currently, he holds law degrees from the University of Chicago School of Law and from Yale Law School. Reared in New York City, his undergraduate degree in history is from Cornell University, where he was a student newspaper editor, rowing team member, and a Golden Gloves heavyweight regional finalist.
John Kelly directs John Kelly & Associates Public Relations. Previous employers have included NBC News, CBS News, the State of New York, and the Central Intelligence Agency. His news topics have included cutting-edge stories on the 1960 Kennedy Presidential campaign, Cape Canaveral space launches, the historic 1961 integration of University of Georgia at Athens, and flying to Washington to witness the Kennedy Inauguration and, from a nearby camera platform, hearing the words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
He reported exclusives about Albert "The Boston Strangler" DeSalvo, Cuban militants planning Castro's overthrow, Soviet espionage, Mafia crime, and Watergate.
Kelly interrupted his reporting career, leaving his post as an editor at NBC News at its Rockefeller Center headquarters in New York, to become a CIA covert action officer serving in Indo-China, among other duties. Later, he returned to reporting. Afterward, he was appointed by New York Governor Hugh Carey to serve as a Deputy Commissioner and Director of the State Department of Taxation and Finance.
As a recent dinner speaker at the National Press Club in Washington, he has spoken about weapons containing depleted uranium and other toxins being used by the U.S. military that have caused cancerous conditions in veterans in the 1991 Iraq-Kuwait War, according to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization, attorneys, academicians and medical professionals. "As was the case with the cover-up of the effects of Agent Orange on GIs after the Viet Nam War, the Pentagon and its entities, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center, are in denial while Western Europe allies have prohibited the use of such weapons," he commented. He has spoken about unauthorized and unlawful telephone eavesdropping on American citizens in the U.S. by the National Security Agency and has participated in panel discussions with former federal agent and intelligence officer whistleblowers. Also, he has criticized the editorial control of broadcast news organizations by their corporate owners in ways contributing to the demise of public confidence in the American news media.
Kelly's career began as a high-school copyboy for the New York Journal-American. While participating in a training program and riding with a reporter and photographer team, one night he met famed columnist Walter Winchell sitting in a street. Winchell, a pioneering columnist and radio reporter beginning in the Roaring Twenties, was cradling in his lap the head of a car accident victim, who was gushing, "Walter! Walter!" in happiness over his brush with fame. After a stint with a New Haven newspaper and television station Kelly returned to New York to report for United Press Movietone Television News on national assignments. His coverage of the Kennedy 1960 campaign included responsibilities as the pool reporter on Election Night at Kennedy's home in Hyannis, Massachusetts. In February 1965, he obtained an exclusive interview for NBC with Malcom X in which the black leader correctly predicted that he would not make it through the weekend without assassination. Kelly's other work in the 1960s included first-hand reports of astronaut John Glenn's lift-off. As a correspondent accredited at the United Nations, he covered also Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's iconic speech at the United Nations banging his shoe on a desktop for emphasis. Kelly was covering the United Nations Security Council when U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge removing a secret microphone from artwork installed in the Moscow embassy. Soviets had given the embassy a decorative U.S. seal, but with a microphone in the eagle's beak.
As night editor at NBC's headquarters news desk located at 30 Rockefeller Center, Kelly obtained permission from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for exclusive arrest news film footage of the arrest of 18 Ku Klux Klan members for the infamous "Mississippi Burning" murders of three civil rights activists whose bodies were dumped in a swamp. Kelly's work included interactions on sensitive stories on teams led by NBC anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, and CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. As a foreign correspondent UP Movietone in London, Kelly covered Parliament, served in Paris and covered intrigues involving Berlin Wall escapes and reprisals. Besides assignments in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan, he covered the so-called Secret War in Laos. He lived in the mountains with anti-communist Montagnard tribes, and flew on Air America drops of rice and paratroopers. While posing as a student and traveling by train between Munich and Berlin through East Germany during annual Warsaw Pact Maneuvers, he was once taken into custody by the East Germany State Police and Stasi, the East German secret police. Similarly, he was taken into custody by agents of the Communist Pathet Lao and held at their headquarters in Vientiane before release.
As an NBC reporter, writer and news editor in the 19-building complex portrayed by photographer David Shankbone at left, Kelly's assignments included living on the secret bases of the militant anti-Castro organizations Alpha 66 and Brigade 2506 as they planned commando raids on the Cuban mainland from camps in the Florida everglades. The FBI's Hoover authorized Kelly to meet with former Soviet GRU intelligence agent Kaarlo Toumi, who was being hunted by the Soviet KGB and on its hit list, in safe houses in New York after the Finnish-born Russian switched sides to become a double-agent for the U.S. For years, Soviets failed to detect the agent's switch.
Later, as a reporter at CBS News, Kelly covered Watergate cover-ups in Washington, Miami and California. Among his exclusives were the Army's use of the University of Minnesota campus police for surveillance and photographing students during rallies and campus activities. Also, Kelly broke stories showing that Army instructors rigged tests measuring Army reactions to potential missile attacks. Kelly served as a CIA covert action officer, but resigned after calling for a congressional investigation into Vietnam War corruption by local officials and cover-ups by U.S. officials who failed to provide oversight. "The two most abused things in Vietnam," Kelly was quoted in media reports as saying, "are the American G.I. and the U.S. taxpayer's dollar."
In the administration of New York's governor, Kelly's responsibilities included mustering congressional support for passage of anti-organized crime legislation aimed at ending interstate cigarette bootlegging. The smuggling was siphoning $90 million of state tax revenue, with the money going into the coffers of three major organized crime families. Later, Congress enacted an omnibus anti-organized crime bill. Also, Kelly helped develop New York's Parent and Student Savings (PASS) tuition savings program that allowed tax deductions for parents and/or guardians on their deposits for their dependents' future student tuition. Under the new law, students could declare the funds as income on their tax returns spread over a five-year, post-graduation period.
Kelly is a Manhattan resident who serves on the boards of the New York Symphonic and the Japan-U.S. Concert Society.
He also serves on boards of trustees of philanthropic foundations that emphasize in grants in health, education and the arts.