Local 4 mourns loss of Dwayne X. Riley

Former newsman Riley dies at age 84

DETROIT – Local 4 has lost a friend and former coworker.

Dwayne X. Riley died this week at the age of 84. He was a dear friend to many here at Local 4, and few knew him better than Roger Weber.

Roger wrote a letter nominating Dwayne for the Michigan Hall of Journalism. He was inducted last year.

Watch: The life of Dwayne X. Riley

Here is Roger's letter:

Chair, Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame Committee
School of Journalism
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212

Dear Hall of Fame Committee,

I believe Dwayne X. Riley, a remarkably talented and accomplished reporter, is worthy of induction into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

In the 65-year history of Channel 4 in Detroit, no journalist has served longer than Dwayne. Longevity itself does not qualify him for your consideration. But I would ask you to take note of the qualities that enabled him to serve our television station for nearly 35 years.

The biography you have received, including his numerous awards, can attest to that.

Long before he appeared before a television camera, Dwayne honed his journalistic talents at his high school newspaper, and at radio stations in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

In the 1950's he served in the U.S. Army at the Far East Network Newsroom in Tokyo.

After managing television newsrooms in Cadillac, Lansing and Saginaw, he joined Channel 4 in 1960.

Dwayne could cover anything well. Hard news assignments included the construction of the Mackinac Bridge, the1967 Detroit riots, and the UAW-Big Three negotiations.

On the "softer" side, Dwayne once lived in a "flop-house," to help viewers understand the addicted and the homeless. His "Eyes of Age" series revealed the challenges of living in retirement communities. It earned one of his six EMMYs.

Let me add my personal observations, having worked alongside one of the best in the business.

No offense to Dwayne, but he didn't survive on his good looks. He was a brilliant writer, a skilled anchor, and a relentless reporter.

His versatility served him well in the final years of his career, through an ongoing feature called "Riley's World." It was creative, funny, and a needed counterbalance to the weight of negative news.

His ability to wear many journalistic hats has long been an inspiration to me.

Dwayne retired in 1995, but didn't leave reporting behind. He did radio commentaries for CKWW in Windsor, and produced a half hour television program to help neglected children. He still writes for a magazine published by a senior services organization.

Former Channel 4 News Director Jim Snyder would often refer to journalism as a "noble calling." That's a tough standard to live up to.

No one has done it better than Dwayne X. Riley.


Roger Weber