ROCHELLE RILEY is doing the job she dreamed of from the time she was 8 years old. Her award-winning columns appear weekly in the Detroit Free Press, at www.freep.com and in newspapers nationwide in the USA Today Network She also makes occasional television appearances on MSNBC and radio appearances on National Public Radio.
Rochelle has spent 20 years crusading for better lives for children, government accountability and improved race relations. She also has spent 16 years promoting the need to improve adult literacy in the region, helping to raise nearly $2 million for literacy causes in Michigan.
She is the winner of the 2017 Eugene C. Pulliam Editorial Fellowship from the Society of Professional Journalists and author of “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery” (Wayne State University Press, 2018).
Rochelle has worked at The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where her debut column calling for a museum to honor native son Muhammad Ali helped spur an $80 million campaign to build the Muhammad Ali Center. In 2015, she joined the campaign to raise funds to test rape kits found abandoned in a police storage unit, helping a women’s group raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for those tests.
Rochelle was the 2017 winner of the NABJ Ida B. Wells Award, an annual honor given to an individual who has made outstanding efforts to make newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. The award is named for the distinguished journalist, fearless reporter and anti-lynching crusaders.
Her other honors include a National Headliner Award, a National Scripps Howard Award and numerous first-place honors from Associated Press-Managing Editors, the Michigan Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and NABJ. Her columns about the fall of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were part of the entry that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting.
A strong advocate for press freedom, Rochelle is co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Global Journalism Task Force, which works to increase the number of minority journalists covering the world. She is a global traveler who has been to 25 countries and counting. She was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied online communities and film. And she was a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
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