Alan Bjerga, a 1991 graduate of Staples-Motley High School, was elected president of the National Press Club.
The club membership elected Bjerga, a correspondent for Bloomberg News, as its 103rd president. Bjerga is the son of Ronald and Joan Bjerga of Brainerd.
Bjerga, 36, is currently the National Press Club's vice president. He also has served as the club's treasurer and as a member of its Board of Governors. He has identified journalism training and support of free speech worldwide as central to his upcoming term.
"Journalists are communicating in new ways even as pressures on news organizations increase," Bjerga said in a news release. "What hasn't changed is journalism's importance. The National Press Club will be a leader in helping journalists to navigate a changing profession while supporting efforts to advance a free press globally."
Bjerga, who grew up in Motley, covers agricultural policy for Bloomberg News. This year he won awards from the Overseas Press Club, the New York Press Club, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the North American Agricultural Journalists for his work in Ethiopia on famine and U.S. food aid. Bloomberg News stories will begin appearing in the Dispatch next year when Bloomberg and the Washington Post join forces and become a supplemental wire service.
Bjerga previously worked in the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, where he won the NAAJ's top writing award in 2005. He began his career with the St. Paul Pioneer Press and also reported for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader as well as The Eagle. He has a bachelor's degree from Concordia College in Moorhead and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota.
Bjerga will be officially sworn into office at a black-tie gala in the National Press Club's ballroom on Jan. 30, an irreverent tribute to the Midwest and Great Plains featuring Honky Tonk Confidential, a band led by CBS "Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer.
The National Press Club, founded in 1908, has 3,500 members in Washington and worldwide.
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