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Rochelle Riley

Columnist, Detroit Free Press

Rochelle Riley’s commentary on social, political and cultural issues appears in the Detroit Free Press two to four times each week. She blogs at www.rochelleriley.com and makes frequent television and radio appearances on National Public Radio, WDET radio and local TV station WDIV-TV 7’s “Flashpoint.” She is a public speaker who addresses college students, women’s groups and business and family organizations across the country. Rochelle writes passionately about public education, pop culture and local government. At the Free Press, she has waged an 11-year campaign to improve adult literacy, recruiting thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars to the cause. In her 12 years in Detroit, Rochelle also has consistently advocated for improved race relations and improved lives for Michigan’s children. Rochelle’s career has taken her around the country with stints at The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, and the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. Rochelle has won many state and national honors, including four Michigan Associated Press Editorial Association awards for best column writing and the 2011 Salute to Excellence Award for Best Column Writing from the National Association of Black Journalists. She was the 2011 recipient of the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for community service from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She received the 2011 Neal Shine Award for Media Commitment to Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professionals for her dedication in and work around Detroit. The Michigan Press Association has named her Michigan’s best local columnist three times, most recently in 2010. And her columns about former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the city’s corruption scandal were part of the entry that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. She was born in Tarboro, N.C. and earned her journalist degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was named the 2010 Harvey Beech Outstanding Alumna. She was a 2007 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied social media, film and creative writing. She is the author of three collections—“From the Heart,” “Life Lessons” and “Raising a Parent: Lessons My Daughter Taught Me While We Grew Up Together.” She has just completed her first novel.