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News & Press: Members On The Move

NABJ Congratulates Member Rochelle Riley

Monday, March 14, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Veronique Dodson
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NABJ congratulates Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley on being inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame for 2016.

The Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators, and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. The Journalism Hall of Fame has honored journalists since 1985 for extraordinary and clearly outstanding careers.

Rochelle’s award-winning columns appear in the Detroit Free Press and at She writes passionately about government responsibility, education, popular culture, politics and race and has spent 15 years raising awareness about the need to improve adult literacy. She has helped raise more than $1 million for Michigan literacy causes. Rochelle also makes frequent television and radio appearances, mostly on NPR, MSNBC and CNN.

Rochelle earned her BA in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and immediately began working for The Greensboro (N.) Daily News. She also has  worked at The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where she was  deputy managing editor from 1992 to 1996. That year, she switched gears and became a writer. 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 earned multiple first-place writing honors from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Michigan Press Association and APME. She also won a national  Scripps Howard Award for her columns on the challenges of adult illiteracy.  Her columns about former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were part of the entry that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting. She won the National Headliner Award for best column in 2013 and the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for community service from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 2011. She was nominated for that award by Ron Dzwonkowski, then associate editor of the Free Press and Rochelle’s editor, who was inducted him into the Hall of Fame himself in 2010.

“Since her arrival at the Free Press in September 2000,” he said, “Rochelle has been a crusader for public engagement to improve the lot of America’s most distressed major city; for the proper care of children in homes, schools or foster care; for helping people of any age learn to read or read better; for efficient, conscientious government; and for celebrating the lives of inspiring people who succeed against the odds.”

“Rochelle never passes up an opportunity to promote literacy, particularly for the adult population of the Detroit area and Michigan, a state where research shows one in four adults does not read well enough to hold down a 21st Century job that will support a family.”

Rochelle continues that work now in her 20th year as a columnist.

The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame also was established to recognize those who have advanced the legacy of a free and responsible press and who have inspired others to improve the quality of the profession.

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, which fights for press freedom around the world.

Rochelle also has been a strong member of NABJ, leading three chapters as president in Louisville, Dallas and Washington, D.C. For more than 20 years, she helped train a legion of future journalists in NABJ summer convention projects. She did similar duties for ASNE, APME and the United Nations. She mentors 22 young women across the country in honor of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. And she was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied online communities and film.

Rochelle's Twitter profile describes her as columnist, crusader and lover of action films, Motown and Sidney Poitier.  It is crusader, in the tradition of Ida B. Wells, that NABJ salutes our longtime member today.

The 2016 Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 17 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Michigan State University. For information, contact Tresa Beardslee at (517) 353-6430. Tickets are $75 per person or $600 for per table (before April 3, 2016).


Yvette Babs Walker says...
Posted Monday, March 21, 2016
Congratulations, Rochelle! This is a well-deserved honor!

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