BIOGRAPHY

Rochelle Riley, who always works with two phones, is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, where she is a leading voice for children, education, competent government and race. She is author of “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery” (Wayne State University Press, 2018). She also is a co-founder of Letters to Black Girls,  project that grew from a single presentation to a national mission to pass words of encouragement from black women to girls. She makes frequent television and radio appearances, including on National Public Radio and MSNBC and Fox2. She has won numerous national, state and local honors, including a National Headliner Award for local column writing. Her debut column for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal called on the city of Louisville to build a museum to honor native son Muhammad Ali. It helped spur an $80 million to build the Muhammad Ali Center, which now sits on the Ohio River. Her columns on the text message scandal that led to the imprisonment of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were part of the Free Press’ 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning entry for local news. She received the 2017 Eugene C. Pulliam Editorial Fellowship from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2017 Ida B. Wells Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for her outstanding efforts to make newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. And she has received the Will Rogers Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for community service. Rochelle is a global traveler who has been to 28 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.