In 1991, I co-hosted a public access show, "CREATIVE OPTIONS", with my Savannah homegirl and Clark Atlanta University (CAU) student Yvette Jones. We taped the inspirational teen show in a studio with high school students from throughout Atlanta (THINK: "Romper Room" meets "106th & Park").
One of our students was CHANDRA THOMAS, who would go on to study communications at CAU. I'd have a chance to be reacquainted with her as she was a member of the student chapter of NABJ that I helped co-found for the Atlanta University Center (Morehouse, CAU, Spelman, Morris Brown, et al.) alongside my first purpose-filled gig in this business at "Good Day Atlanta".
After I left ATL for NYC, I'd find out that CHANDRA was working at "Good Day Atlanta". Now, she's a well-respected features writer in the magazine world and graciously asked me at the National Association of Black Journalists' convention if she could write a story on me for my alma mater's alumnus magazine. I agreed and here it is.
I contractually could not talk about my most lucrative contract as an independent journalist, but there is and has been enough other fare in the life of Riley to make for a substantive piece.
Chandra did a great job; however, I should point out that it was Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus conductor Robert Shaw whose name should be in the story instead of CNN's Bernard Shaw - a fact likely lost in the translation as I was at a Mariah Carey concert in New Jersey when she conducted this interview by phone. Also, I am a four-year student of Morehouse College from which I graduated in 1992. And my nephew is Herman Lee Riley III.
Other than that, ENJOY! And THANKS to CHANDRA for fulfilling another ring in our collective FULL CIRCLE of PAYING IT FORWARD!
THE TEXT IS AS FOLLOWS:
MULTITALENTED IN MULTIMEDIA
Patrick L. Riley '92
SURE HE HAS RECEIVED tons of accolades for his involvement in the Morehouse Glee Club, forensics and debate teams, musical theater productions and community television shows. But one special memory of his days at Morehouse is forever etched in Patrick Riley's mind.
"Just before I graduated, I was selected to represent Morehouse during the CBS network special 'Kennedy Center Honors'. I had the opportunity to (honor Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conductor and composer Robert Shaw). That was such an honor. I remember it like it was literally yesterday."
That experience, it seems, was merely foreshadowing Riley's successful career in the news/ entertainment business. After graduating cum laude with a degree in broadcast journalism (he was one of the last few students who took part in the now-defunct program that allowed students, including Spike Lee '79, to cross-register into Clark Atlanta University's mass communications program), Riley hit the ground running - landing a job as an associate producer on Fox 5's "Good Day Atlanta" morning show.
"Morehouse was very instrumental in preparing me for a life in journalism and show business," says Riley, who is now based outside of New York City in Ridgefield Park, N.J. "It instilled in me the importance of excellence and hard work."
As an independent producer and writer for eight years, Riley's clients have included NBC, BET, I-StyleTV.com, Crosswalks TV, Levi's and HBO. The multimedia journalist, whose specialty is entertainment and pop culture, has interviewed and produced stories on a number of high-profile celebrities, including Diana Ross, President Bill Clinton, Beyonce Knowles, Mary Tyler Moore, and Quincy Jones.
Riley also has received a number of industry nods for his work, including awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the Atlanta Association of Media Women. Current credits include a host slot on the TLC network's "Pros and Cons: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and through his talent agency ICM, on-camera work with shows like ESPN-2's "Cold Pizza" and "tvQ", a pilot he co- hosted for Hurricane Productions. He also moonlights as a singer and serves as chairman of the National Association of Black Journalists' Arts and Entertainment Task Force.
He is currently writing his first book, a collection of narratives called "Big Willies and Amazing Graces: Gay Men and Their Best Girlfriends."
Nowadays, Riley is especially proud to pass the Morehouse torch to his nephew, Herman Lee Riley III, who enrolled in the school this past fall. "I am so excited to watch another Morehouse man in the making."
--- Chandra R. Thomas
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