Rochelle Riley

Inducted 2016

Columnist, Detroit Free Press

Rochelle Riley

Rochelle Riley

Rochelle Riley has spent 15 years penning award-winning columns for the Detroit Free Press, where she has been a passionate crusade for children and a courageous advocate for community responsibility.  Her focuses have been education, popular culture, politics and race. Riley spent 14 years raising awareness about the need to improve adult literacy and raised more than $1 million for Michigan literacy causes.

Riley began her career in her home state of North Carolina and did reporting and editing stints in Dallas, Fort Worth and Washington D.C. In 1992, she became the first African-American news executive at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, where she supervised six departments, edited numerous award-winning projects and helped plan annual coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

In 1996, she became a columnist. Her debut, which called on Louisville to build a museum to honor Louisville native Muhammad Ali, helped spur an $80 million campaign to build the Muhammad Ali Center, which opened in 2005.

Riley was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan where she studied online communities and film.

She has been honored with dozens of awards for writing and community service including: the 2013 National Headliner Award for best column; the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for community service from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists; and multiple first place column honors from the National Association of Black Journalists.

In 2015, Hour magazine readers named her Detroit’s best female columnist for the sixth year in a row.