ROCHELLE RILEY’S award-winning columns appear in the Detroit Free Press and at www.freep.com since 2000. A crusader for better lives for children, she writes passionately about government responsibility, education, popular culture, politics and race. She has spent 15 years raising awareness about the need to improve adult literacy and has helped raise more than $1 million for Michigan literacy causes.
From 1981 through 1991, she worked at The Greensboro Daily News and Record, the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, the Washington Post and The Dallas Morning News, covering education and children’s issues or working as an assistant city editor. In 1992, she was named deputy managing editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where she oversaw the metro, regional, suburban, sports and business desks.
In 1996, the adoptive mom realized that her daughter’s nanny was actually raising her child, so she changed course and became a columnist. Her debut plea for Louisville to finally honor its most famous native son, Muhammad Ali, helped spur an $80 million campaign to build the Muhammad Ali Center, which opened in 2005.
Rochelle’s honors include a National Headliner Award for best column, a national Scripps Howard award for her coverage of literacy and first-place honors from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Michigan Press Association and the Associated Press-Managing Editors. 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. Readers of Hour magazine, a Michigan treasure, just named her Detroit’s best local female columnist for the seventh straight year.
Rochelle, a strong advocate for press freedom around the world, is co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Global Journalism Task Force and a board member of the North American Committee of the International Press Institute.
Rochelle, who makes frequent television and radio appearances, mostly on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and local stations in Detroit, is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and English. She also was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied online communities and film. And she is a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.