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Denise Riley

MDDC Hall of Fame Class of 2014: The Star Democrat's Denise Riley


Denise Riley
Denise Riley’s newspaper career started at the Chester River Press in 1969, as a reporter. After a stint at the Centreville Record-Observer, Riley joined the staff of The Star Democrat in 1973 and focused her work on the Eastern Shore.

Riley was nominated to the MDDC Hall of Fame by David Fike and John Griep, the current publisher and the current editor of the Star Democrat. They wrote in part: “During her lengthy career, Denise has trained and been a mentor to numerous reporters, editors and photographers who are now working at many of the nation’s largest newspapers.”

Riley joined the staff of The Star Democrat as news editor in May 1973 and nine years later was named editor of the newspaper in 1982, becoming the first woman to hold that post. She was named editor emeritus of The Star Democrat in 2011.

In 1986-87, she was the first woman to win the John Hay Whitney Fellowship, taking her to Paris to work on the copy desk of the International Herald Tribune for nearly a year.

Under her leadership, The Star Democrat launched The Sunday Star in October 1988 and the newspaper’s Web edition, www.stardem.com. In 2006, she was named the Talbot County Businesswoman of the Year and in 2007 was honored with a Top 100 Women in Maryland award by The Daily Record.

As for the future of our industry, Riley is heartbroken about the current state of print newspapers and hopes that the true value of community newspapers will be recognized.


Denise Riley's Hall of Fame video.
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