ROCHELLE RILEY’s commentary on social, political and cultural issues appears in the Detroit Free Press two to four times each week. She makes frequent television and radio appearances on National Public Radio, WDET radio and local TV station WDIV-TV 7’s “Flashpoint.”
She is a public speaker who addresses college students, women’s groups and business and family organizations across the country. Rochelle writes passionately about public education, pop culture and local government. But no subject is off limits. At the Free Press, she has waged an 11-year campaign to improve adult literacy, recruiting thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars to the cause. In her 12 years in Detroit, Rochelle also has consistently advocated for improved race relations and improved lives for Michigan’s children.
Rochelle’s career has taken her around the country with stints at The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post and the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where her 1996 debut column, which called for a museum honoring Louisville native Muhammad Ali, helped spur an $80 million campaign to build the Muhammad Ali Center, which opened in 2005.
Rochelle has won many state and national honors. She was just named winner of the 2013 National Headliner Award, one of the most prestigious in the country for first place in local column writing. She was one of eight Ambassadors of the Year by Ambassador magazine and winner of a 2013 Distinguished Leadership in Media award from the Michigan Business and Professional Association. Hour magazine’s readers just named her Best Local Female Columnist for the third year in a row. She has won four Michigan Associated Press Editorial Association awards for best column writing and two Salute to Excellence Awards for Best Column Writing from the National Association of Black Journalists, most recently in 2011. She was the 2011 recipient of the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for community service from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She received the 2011 Neal Shine Award for Media Commitment to Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professionals for her dedication in and work around Detroit. The Michigan Press Association has named her Michigan’s best local columnist three times, most recently in 2010. And her columns about former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the city’s corruption scandal were part of the entry that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.
Rochelle was born in Tarboro, N.C. and earned her journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was named the 2010 Harvey Beech Outstanding Alumna. She was a 2007 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied social media, film and creative writing.
To schedule Rochelle for an appearance, interview, acting gig, recording session, speaking engagement or soap opera visit www.churchstreetmedia.com with the time, date and explanation of event. Please include how long you want Rochelle to speak and how long you want her to stay at the event.